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Chicago, IL – State Reps. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), Christine Winger (R-Bloomingdale), Peter Breen (R-Lombard), Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), and Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) today introduced legislation, House Bill 4082, to immediately repeal the one-cent-per-ounce Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax. The tax, which went into effect on August 2, will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack.

“This pop tax is a repeated example of another financial burden being imposed upon the people of Cook County. The vetting of this measure was short-sighted and irresponsible as roll-outs of similar pop taxes in other cities have proven to be not effective and even harmful to the local economy,” stated Rep. McAuliffe. “I spent this past weekend in my district and the feedback against this tax was overwhelmingly negative. The taxpayers are understandably frustrated and there is a lot of confusion.”


“Longstanding small businesses that have been pivotal in the community are going to suffer, especially when residents can walk less than a mile to a different store in a county that isn’t affected by the tax to buy their goods,” said Rep. Winger. “Residents will choose a different store over one they have gone to for years to avoid paying this. I have heard first-hand the severity this tax has already had in its first two weeks. Some say sales have already dropped 80% on certain products.”

Specifically, House Bill 4082 would prevent any home rule county from imposing a tax on sweetened beverages based on volume sold. It applies to any county ordinance adopted on or before the effective date of the bill, repealing the existing Cook County ordinance.

"On the heels of being hit with a 32% income tax hike, the residents of Cook County were immediately saddled with a costly tax on sweetened beverages,” said Rep. Breen. “It's time for government to live within its means and quit turning to taxpayers for more of their hard-earned money. Through this legislation, the Cook County beverage tax will be repealed, and a law will be in place to prohibit any similar taxes in other Illinois counties."

“Democrats not only want you to keep ‘drinking the Koolaid’, they want you to pay more for the privilege,” said Rep. Wehrli. “This tax hits families directly in their wallets. It could also cost us some of the thousands of good jobs the soft drink industry provides Illinois families. It’s no surprise that nearly 87% of Cook County residents oppose this tax, and we stand with them.”

“The pop tax is crushing small and family-owned retailers in Cook County, the very men and women who are the backbone of our local and state economy," Rep. Wheeler said. “Cook County politicians cannot hide from the fact that their tax-and-spend policies continue to fail the working families and job creators in every community from Lake-Cook Road to the Indiana state line.”

The City of Philadelphia recently enacted a similar, 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages to pay for universal preschool. Following the implementation of the tax, beverage sales fell by as much as 50 percent and more than 400 jobs were lost. Additionally, actual beverage tax collections for the first six months are $6.9 million below the city’s estimate of $46.2 million.

The impact on Cook County is expected to be even more devastating. An economic analysis in 2016 found that the beverage tax, which Cook County estimates to provide $67.5 million in new revenue in 2017 and $200.6 million in 2018, could result in a loss of 6,100 jobs, $321 million in lost wages and $1.3 billion in lost economic activity. There have already been a number of complaints and lawsuits as retailers struggle to comply with the implementation of the tax.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently notified Cook County that portions of the tax were illegal and that the state could stand to lose more than $86 million in federal funding if the problems are not resolved.

Additionally, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission has voiced its concerns with Cook County as well, stating that the new tax “may lead to practices that violate the Illinois Liquor Control Act.”

Springfield, IL …. State Representative Michael P. McAuliffe (R-Chicago) has joined his colleagues in co-sponsoring crucial legislation that would guard taxpayers from lawsuits instigated by government bodies in response to lawful challenges of a tax. House Bill 4080, filed earlier this week, gained traction in response to the lawsuit filed by the Cook County Board President against the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA).

Earlier this summer, IRMA was successfully able to obtain a stay on the sweetened beverage tax spearheaded by the Cook County Board President. The tax, which was intended to begin on July 1st, was delayed pending a legal review. After that period ended, a retaliatory lawsuit was filed by the Board President against IRMA seeking the alleged $17 million in lost revenue.

“It is a sad day when a leader of a government body files a vengeful lawsuit against taxpayers with their own tax dollars. Citizens of our country are protected with certain freedoms that allow them to challenge government action. The thought of an official bringing forth a lawsuit in retaliation to a taxpayer or citizen group because they exercised their rights is unimaginable,” stated Rep. McAuliffe.

Although the lawsuit against IRMA has been since withdrawn, McAuliffe believes that House Bill 4080 is necessary to protect against future, comparable lawsuits:

“The citizens of Illinois need to be assured that their government works for them. It is important that they feel empowered to challenge controversial taxes or measures and not feel threatened with retaliatory action.”

House Bill 4080 specifically addresses the government’s ability to file lawsuit seeking monetary reimbursement in response to a temporary restraining order or injunction on a legal challenge to a tax.
Rep. McAuliffe speaks to attendees of the Senior Citizens Rules of the Road refresher course
at the White Eagle Banquet Hall.

Senior Citizens attend the second of the three offered Rules of the Road refresher courses in Schiller Park.

The final Rules of the Road refresher course was held at the Salvation Army where over 120 senior citizens were in attendance.
 

Yesterday, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to override the Governor’s veto of both the spending plan and permanent income tax increase. State Representative Michael P. McAuliffe (R-Chicago) released the following statement:

“Again, I am saddened by the disregard for the Illinois taxpayer displayed by yesterday’s override vote to institute a permanent income tax hike. I will reiterate that this plan does not include any reform or address the billions in unpaid bills or pension liability,” explained McAuliffe. “The credit agencies flat-out stated that this budget does not properly begin to fix Illinois’ negative fiscal climate and the permanent income tax increase only puts a further burden on the taxpayer. We could have done better.”

McAuliffe continued, “While I am disappointed by the direction taken yesterday, I will remain committed to representing the people of the 20th District and working with my colleagues to ensure that Illinois returns to a path of fiscal stability.”