Some in Chicago have been suggesting that one way to handle the city’s huge budget shortfall is to add a penny-per-ounce tax on beverages like soft drinks, fruit drinks, and other favorites.
But when Mayor Emanuel introduced his budget yesterday the regressive beverage tax was notably missing. Perhaps the mayor read our recent post on why soda taxes don’t improve public health. More likely he listened to the thousands of Chicagoans and small business people who opposed a tax that would raise grocery bills and cost jobs during tough economic times.
The president of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Omar Duque, expressed this very issue in a recent op-ed:
“This regressive tax would hit small and minority-owned businesses and their hardworking employees the hardest. Smaller independent stores operate on tighter margins than larger retail outlets, and they are significantly more sensitive to government-imposed costs.”
Ordinary Chicagoans who would suffer the most are joining the Chicago Coalition Against Beverage Taxes. They are speaking out against this discriminatory tax proposal that would hit grocery carts and small business bottom-lines across the city. Even though Mayor Emanuel did not include the beverage tax, there is still a fight ahead. The final vote on the budget won’t take place until Oct. 28.
Learn more about the fight and receive updates at the coalition website, www.noillinoisbeveragetax.com.