Statement from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle On Court Ruling Regarding Sweetened Beverage Tax
While we respect Judge Kubasiak’s decision, we are disappointed that he has granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the collection of the sweetened beverage tax. We will be filing a notice of appeal before the Appellate Court seeking to vacate the TRO. Revenue from the tax is critical to both balancing our FY2017 budget and development of our FY2018 budget. As a result of the injunction and its timing, I have asked my Finance Department to look at all options to compensate for the revenue that would have been generated by the tax. Because we are now more than halfway into our fiscal year, we must immediately look at holdbacks, efficiencies and – because 87 percent of General Fund expenditures are personnel-related – a substantial number of position reductions each month that collection of the tax is delayed. Finally, because 46 percent of our budget is spent on public health and 41 percent on public safety, any such reductions would disproportionately impact these areas, as we have long cautioned. As the litigation proceeds, we will continue to aggressively defend our ordinance.