Oh, Chicago – or to be precise, Cook County. What funny predicaments these metro areas get themselves into. It seems a while back some Cook County pol got the bright idea to put a tax on carbonated beverages – and that has proved the biggest mistake since Julius Caesar walked alone into the Roman Senate building one March day. Excerpt:
When Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle first floated the idea of a pop tax to commissioners last October, a big part of her pitch was an appeal to their sense of self-preservation.
“We said to people, ‘We’re going to take one tough vote in the next three years, that’s it. Then we’re done,'” said Preckwinkle, making a reference to the financial stability the new money would bring. “And needless to say, that’s very attractive when you have to run for election.”
As political calculations go, this one backfired in a big way.
A botched rollout coupled with a huge public backlash fueled by general tax fatigue and the beverage industry’s well-funded pushback campaign has made the pop tax the biggest issue in county government in nearly a decade.
Now a repeal vote is slated for next month, and several commissioners could find themselves fighting for their political lives next year. So could Preckwinkle, who a few months ago seemed like a shoo-in to win her third and final term despite pushing through the soda tax on top of a 1-percentage-point sales tax increase in 2015.
“It’s really simple,” said Commissioner Sean Morrison, a Palos Park Republican and the lead sponsor of the repeal measure. “It’s going to come down to an up-or-down vote and, at the end of the day, the residents are tellin’ ’em ‘Can the tax or can the commissioner.’
I’d be tempted to say that this sets a new level of stupid, but unfortunately I can’t – not about Cook County. Not about the Chicago metropolis.
This line from the story is telling:
At the same time, Preckwinkle has not been shy about promoting the tax as a public health benefit.
In other words: “It was for their own good.”
How many government oversteps have been implemented with the disclaimer “it was for their own good”? This is another such.
I’m dead-set against sin taxes of every stripe. Whether they be levied against unapproved foodstuffs, drinks (alcoholic or otherwise), sex toys or any other stuffs and sundries that, when used, do no harm to any other than the user. This attempt by Cook County is just more high-handed moralizing by “public servants” presuming to make choices for the population at large in the name of enhancing revenues. It’s good to see the citizenry slapping these intrusive pols down.