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The Cook County “pop tax” will soon be a thing of the past, after the Cook County Board buckled to public pressure and repealed it.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.
The California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund wants a judge to force Cook County to release information on the county’s animal control department, asserting the county is intentionally withholding a report from the public the group believes likely contains more information about operations at county animal control than what was revealed in a released summary of the report from the county’s inspector general.
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.
The state’s highest court has declared Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios must comply with subpoenas issued by the county’s Inspector General, saying a Cook County ordinance empowering the Inspector General to “detect, deter and prevent corruption, fraud, waste, mismanagement, unlawful political discrimination or misconduct in the operation of County government” can be constitutionally applied to investigations of potential misconduct in the offices of elected county officials, like Berrios.
A man who was acquitted of murder charges stemming from a 2014 Palatine bar fight has sued the offices of Cook County’s circuit clerk and treasurer, alleging they kept far too much of his bail bond fees – and he believes they likely did the same to potentially thousands of others who have posted bond in recent years.
An Illinois group which advocates for the rights of gun owners has taken aim at Cook County’s taxes on the sales of firearms and ammunition, asking the courts to find the county’s taxes to be unconstitutional infringements on the Second Amendment rights of citizens in the county. On Dec. 17, Guns Save Life Inc., a group which purports to include members in Cook County and throughout Illinois, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court.