November 30, 2020

Volume X, Number 335

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November 30, 2020

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Cook County Illinois Soda Tax Temporarily Blocked

  • As previously covered on this blog, a number of local jurisdictions throughout the U.S. – like Berkeley, CA; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; Oakland, CA; and Boulder, CO – have sought to introduce legislation to tax sweetened beverages.  Late last year, on November 10, 2016, the Cook County Illinois Board of Commissioners passed the Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax Ordinance which would impose $0.01 per ounce on the retail sale of all sweetened beverages in Cook County.  The tax was slated to go into effect on Saturday, July 1, 2017.  But on June 27, 2017, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association – which represents more than 20,000 stores – and several grocers filed a complaint against the Cook County Department of Revenue to block the sweetened beverage tax, arguing that the tax is unconstitutional and too vague for stores to implement.  The Plaintiffs further contend that: (1) Cook County’s penny-per-ounce beverage tax violates the state constitution by imposing different taxes on similar beverage products and (2) the tax would make retailers vulnerable to becoming ineligible for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as the program prohibits purchasing food that has a state or local sales tax.

  • On Friday, June 30, 2017, Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak granted the Plaintiff’s request for a temporary restraining order (TRO), effectively putting Cook County’s penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages on hold at least until July 12, 2017.

  • Looking ahead, it remains to be seen what, if any, impact the outcome of this lawsuit will have on the appetite of other U.S. jurisdictions to pursue such legislation.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 186
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Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...

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