Chicago's tax on sugary beverages may have gone flat, but don't expect the idea to go away anytime soon.
Following a dispute between the soda industry, public health advocates, and city officials, a Cook County board committee voted 15-2 Wednesday to can Chicago's penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks.
"A lot of people are, I think, rightfully saying that this shows that the soda tax is wildly unpopular – but I don't think those of us who prefer not being taxed on the foods that we eat because the government doesn't want us to eat them should rest on our laurels," says New York City resident Jeff Stier of the National Center for Public Policy Research.
The tax was intended to raise additional revenue and help fill budget gaps. However, people concerned about obesity saw it as a way to encourage better choices.
"This was an initiative sponsored by my former mayor, Michael Bloomberg," Stier adds. "He put millions of dollars into it. He's got more to spend – and I think he will."
Soda has been blamed for obesity, although many individuals, think tanks, and special interest groups dispute that say there are many factors at play. Meanwhile, Stier and other critics of soda taxes say they hurt poor people more than anyone else.
The tax, which took effect August 2, will officially end December 1.