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State Legislators to Block Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax through Preemption

Preemption: do you know the definition of this term? It’s a way that a higher level of government tries to prevent a lower level of government from being able to do something, and that is what is currently happening in Cook County, Illinois.


sugarydrinkpic.PNGMembers of the Illinois House of Representatives introduced bills that would kill a recently implemented Cook County tax on sugary drinks. The tax includes beverages, sweetened with sugar or a sugar substitute, such as sports drinks energy drinks, sweetened teas, and sodas. Fruit drinks are also taxed, but 100-percent fruit juice are exempt.

The preemption bills are:

House Bill 4082 Republican sponsored bill that would limit the home rule authority of counties to impose sweetened beverage taxes, and is assigned to House Revenue and Finance. This bill prevents any county from imposing a tax on sugary drinks based on volume sold. The bill applies to any current county ordinance adopted on or before the effective date of the bill which repeal Cook County’s ordinance. View the full article here—note about the article—it mentions a SNAP issue with the USDA, however this has been resolved, when the County made a small modification to the regulations.

HB 4083 – Democratic sponsored bill, similar to 4082, that would also limit the authority of home rule counties to tax sweetened beverages. This bill is also assigned to House Revenue and Finance.

In addition, a county ordinance has been filed that would repeal the sweetened beverage tax with no alternative to fund the county public safety and healthcare jobs that will be cut without an alternative funding source. That ordinance is currently scheduled to be heard at the September 13 board meeting.