Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin was the only member of the Cook County Board to vote against the proposal to eliminate the penny-per-ounce tax on soft drinks and other sugary beverages, after three more commissioners who originally voted for it defected on Tuesday.
Less than two months after the country's largest soda tax went into effect, embattled lawmakers in Cook County, Ill. - the home of Chicago - are already poised to repeal it.
The tax passed a year ago after Board President Toni Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote after commissioners deadlocked on the measure. Preckwinkle has said without revenue from the tax the county will have to make deep cuts to spending on health care and public safety.
The tax has been plagued, in its very short life, by legal challenges, implementation glitches, and a screeching, multi-million-dollar media battle between the soda industry and public health groups. The full board is expected to OK the repeal Wednesday.
A groundswell of opposition to the tax led most of the county commissioners who originally voted for it to change their position.
The finance committee's vote followed hours of testimony from Cook County officials, retailers, healthcare advocates and residents. However, those supporting repeal say they have enough votes to override a veto. Cook County working families and businesses have overwhelmingly rejected the county's beverage tax.
Cook County commissioner John Fritchey, a Democrat from Chicago, suggested taxing legalized recreational marijuana as an alternative revenue source in lieu of a soda tax, and is introducing a county board resolution to do so.