Cook County repeals 'pop tax,' but lawsuits it spurred are still pending - though perhaps not for long
The Cook County “pop tax” will soon be a thing of the past, after the Cook County Board buckled to public pressure and repealed it. But local judges still must deal with a slew of class action lawsuits filed against supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants over allegations they improperly collected the tax from customers.
With signs indicating the Cook County Board is poised to soon repeal the unpopular "pop tax," a Cook County commissioner has also set the stage to rewrite the rules by which county administrators can go about creating rules to collect taxes and impose regulations, potentially addressing a major complaint of businesses in the wake of the county's controversy-plagued rollout of the tax this summer.
Cook County has launched what a judge has called an “unprecedented” and “chilling” attempt to force an industry group and six supermarket companies who challenged the county’s new so-called “pop tax” to pay the county at least $17 million for suing and securing a restraining order which delayed the implantation of the tax by nearly a month.
As a Cook County judge prepares to rule later this week on whether the county should be allowed to begin collecting its so-called sweetened beverage tax, county officials say the county has banked much of its budget hopes for the coming year on the $17 million a month in revenue they expect the tax will pour into county coffers.
Retailers: Cook County soda tax unconstitutional, leaving drink sellers exposed to penalties, lawsuits
Saying Cook County rules would leave them unable to collect and pay the proper amount of taxes on the sodas, sweet teas and other sweetened drinks they sell, while leaving them exposed to penalties and lawsuits, a group of grocers, through their trade association, have asked a Cook County judge to block the scheduled July 1 implementation of the county’s so-called soda tax.