Thursday, August 3, 2017

The cost of Cook County waste and corruption is hitting home

Last straw? Many Cook County residents not too sweet on soda tax
CHICAGO 08/02/2017, 06:17pm

For Mark Habert, paying extra for his soft drinks was “the last straw.”

Holding a 7-Eleven fountain drink in downtown Chicago on Wednesday – the first day Cook County’s penny-an-ounce sweetened beverage tax took effect — Habert said he is ready to pack his bags and move to Atlanta with his wife and daughter.

“The legislators and people get together, and the only thing they can ever agree on is raising taxes,” Habert said, explaining how the new tax helped ruin his taste for Chicago, where he has lived for the last 25 years.

Habert said he was tired of a “dysfunctional city and state,” the soda tax being the most recent example of that.

Chicago resident Mark Habert is moving with his wife and daughter to Atlanta because of the sweetened beverage tax that went into effect Wednesday. | Amanda Svachula for the Sun-Times

He wasn’t the only one.

Barbara Buschman, who lives in Lemont and drinks a can or so of pop a day, was just as frustrated over the tax. But she said she’ll take less drastic measures than moving out of state and will simply make a short drive outside the county to buy her soda.

“I don’t think it’s good, especially for seniors on fixed incomes,” said Buschman, who mostly buys sugary drinks for her grandchildren.

Buschman, who was shopping at an Aldi in the Cook County portion of Lemont, said the tax was unfair and wondered out loud what Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was thinking.

Others were less angry and surmised that the tax may curb their thirst for unhealthy drinks.

“It is what it is,” said Ben Krimmel, who stood at the downtown Chicago 7-Eleven checkout, holding a Brisk Half and Half Ice Tea Lemonade. “Realistically, I should just stop drinking soda anyway.”

David Goldenberg, a spokesman for the Can the Tax Coalition, said there was outrage and shock from both businesses and consumers in the hours after the tax was implemented.

“Cook County commissioners brought a tax that they knew would bring significant harm to residents and businesses,” Goldenberg said. “We anticipate the outrage increasing as more and more people go to grocery stores and restaurants.”

Preckwinkle spokesman Frank Shuftan said that given the timeline of the ordinance passing to its implementation, merchants and consumers have had time to prepare. “Any suggestion that this is being rushed is nonsense,” he said.

While browsing Slurpee flavors at the Chicago 7-Eleven, Brian Foxx, 17, said the tax will make him more “observant” of his spending habits.

His family recently lost access to Illinois Link Cards so “it’s already hard to buy stuff,” he said. Taxes such as the sweetened beverage tax and the plastic bag tax just add to the costs, he said.

Brian Foxx said the said the soda tax will make him more “observant” of his spending habits. | Amanda Svachula/For the Sun-Times

Meanwhile, Rosa Barton left an Arizona iced tea behind at a Walgreens in the Loop Wednesday because of the tax.

“What’s next?” she asked. “A tax on air?”


  1. Anonymous8/03/2017

    Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle campaigned against a tax hike. Now, we who live in Cook County have been, are being and will be taxed out of the county and our homes.

    SEND LETTERS TO: Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

    The county’s new soda tax is a prime example of how politicians work. When I first caught wind of this tax, it was disguised as a tax to fight obesity. I smelled something fishy right away. Then a couple of months prior to it taking affect it was declared (read: fessed up) as a way to fight obesity and provide much need influx of revenue for the Cook County.

    The obesity they were fighting was political taxes and spending. Preckwinkle should be ashamed of herself but she is not, as she has declared she will run for office again.

    I wish there was something citizens could do to put these politicians in check now rather than wait for election time.

  2. Anonymous8/03/2017

    Never ever vote for another Democrat.

  3. Anonymous8/03/2017

    "Buschman, who was shopping at an Aldi in the Cook County portion of Lemont, said the tax was unfair and wondered out loud what Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was thinking"

    Gibs me dat!!

    1. Anonymous8/04/2017

      I still don't get it. With all the inmates Dart and Tim Evans have cut loose, combined with the shut down of buildings at the County jail, how much was saved, how much more do you need? Cook County Republicans, here's your chance for the next electoral cycle. That chubby fellow pictured in this post doesn't look like he's missed too many slurpies.

  4. Anonymous8/03/2017

    Thanks Tony and John, my diabetes is down already. Now if you can put a stop to Tommie's Piping Hot Pizzas, my cholesterol will start plummeting.

  5. Anonymous8/03/2017

    When you vote for Democrats you get one thing for certain - "higher taxes". The only DemocRAT I remember promising a tax cut was Slick Willy Clinton who promised a middle class tax cut. He dumped that promise in only a few months..."I never worked harder in my life but I just couldn't find a way" or something like that...I remember saying to my friends..."Hey Clinton I will give you another six months or a year or more....figure out a way". He didn't because Democrats only RAISE taxes, fees, rules and regulations....that is where they get their power. They take from you and pretend to care by giving YOUR money to someone else. Like Lucy who ALWAYS pulls the football out from Charlie Brown....the Democrats promise any and everything....but the only thing they ALWAYS deliver is higher taxes.

  6. Anonymous8/04/2017

    Should have voted for O'Brien!

  7. Anonymous8/04/2017

    Wait until next year. Toni the taxer has come up with a very inexpensive meter for all our homes in Cook County. Once installed, we will be charged a "Flush Tax". Every time the toilet is flushed the meter will register and we will be charged $.01 per flush. So, as a person with many in my household that drink soda and the like and use the washroom regularly will pay. Isn't this double taxation. Tax it going in and tax it going out. I wasn't a big fan of Todd Stroger but "Toni the Taxer" is really over the top. At least we knew the crap he was trying to pull. We need a pro-poop candidate to run against her. However, she is so full of s**t. Lets all send her a message and end the flush tax now.