Tuesday, June 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
During a town hall meeting he co-hosted in Broadview on Saturday. Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) blasted a tax hike that adds a penny per ounce to the retail sale of sweetened drinks in the county.
The measure was passed by the Cook County board last November, with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle providing the tie-breaking vote. The tax goes into effect on July 1.
“I voted against that that beverage tax,” Boykin said during the June 3 meeting, which Boykin co-hosted with Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson.
“I thought that it was a bad deal for the people of Broadview and everywhere else,” Boykin said. When you go to the grocery store and you get that 64 ounce of grape juice, we’re going to add 64 cents to it.”
According to a June 1 Chicago Tribune article, Preckwinkle said that while raising “revenue was never my first choice,” the measure nonetheless “provides important revenue, not only to avoid damaging cuts for public health and public safety systems, but also to expand our community-based interventions in both arenas.”
Preckwinkle added that the tax also stabilizes the county’s financial status for the “next three fiscal years, during which we will not have to approve any additional tax increases.” County officials expect the tax to bring in $224 million in additional revenue each year.
During a March 24 meeting Boykin convened at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, most of the business owners, beverage industry representatives and local elected officials in attendance seemed to disprove of the beverage tax as well.
Deno Andrews, a recently elected Oak Park trustee who owns Felony Franks, the hot dog restaurant in Oak Park, said that he’s already overtaxed as it is. A sales tax increase, he said, will only add to his financial burden.
“My small restaurant is 1,799 square feet and I pay about $25,000 a year in property taxes,” he said. “That’s essentially $500 a week. What’s sad is I pay more for property taxes than I pay any single employee on a weekly basis. I can’t pay my staff what I would like to pay them because I have another staff member — the government. That makes it very difficult.” VFP