County Files Motion to Withdraw Petition for Damages in Sweetened Beverage Tax Case

soft drink, energy drink, sweetened beverage tax
A soft drink, energy drink, can. (Welcomia)

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Chief Spokesperson for the Cook County Board President Frank Shuftan issued a statement regarding the so-called sweetened beverage tax case.

The tax, which went into effect August 1, has had a rocky roll-out, with Walgreens and McDonald’s facing lawsuits over accusations of how the tax was implemented.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Two of the Chicago area’s biggest corporate names are being sued over allegedly bungling the rollout of Cook County’s new penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax, with Walgreens accused of taxing unsweetened beverages and McDonald’s accused of essentially taxing the tax.

McDonald’s is allegedly adding the beverage tax to the subtotal of orders before calculating other sales taxes, which, in turn, results in overcharging of taxes, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court. Meanwhile, a Schaumburg resident alleges in a lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County that Walgreens improperly charged the tax on unsweetened sparkling water.

Cook County took the unusual step of suing the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, “claiming the one-month delay in implementing the soda tax has caused $17 million in damages.” This was after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association sued the county, “arguing the proposed tax is unconstitutional and too vague. ”

Where is the nearest Walgreens?

Mr. Shuftan’s statement states “the County has determined that withdrawing its petition for damages would serve the public interest.”

“It was always our intention to protect the revenue that finances the County’s critical public health and public safety services,” Mr. Shuftan writes. “Now that the Appellate Court has rejected the emergency motion that would again prevent us from collecting the sweetened beverage tax, we believe we should move forward cooperatively and in good faith with the County’s retail industry. As a result, the County has determined that withdrawing its petition for damages would serve the public interest.”