Sweetened-beverage taxes were on this list last year as a cautionary tale of a growing trend that could be spreading across the United States. A year later, they’re still being considered by municipalities big and small, but there’s a new wrinkle in the story.
In May, voters in Santa Fe, N.M., rejected a 2-cent-per-ounce soda tax 58% to 42%. And in Cook County, Ill., which includes the city of Chicago, public outcry was enough to force the county board to vote in October to repeal its 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages.
The decision is a victory for retailers, many of whom feared the tax was a model for similar measures in other markets.
The 15-2 repeal vote by the Cook County Board of Commissioners came only 10 weeks after the surcharge was levied on all sweetened soft drinks, including ones made with noncaloric sugar substitutes. The rollback began Dec. 1, ending a fierce lobbying battle that pitted grocery and convenience stores, restaurants and other soda-selling businesses against health advocates and parties that hoped to raise $200 million per year in revenue from the tax.