A penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverage in Illinois’ largest county has been put temporarily on hold on the eve of going into effect, after a group of retailers sued to halt it.
Friday’s court ruling came days after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several Chicago-area grocery retailers filed suit against the Cook County Department of Revenue seeking to block the tax, set to take effect July 1, charging that it’s unconstitutional and too vague, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The judge’s order delays enforcement of the tax until July 12.
Home to 5.2 million residents, Cook County would become the largest area in the nation with a tax on sweetened soft drinks. The tax would add 72 cents to the cost of a six-pack of soda or 68 cents for a 2-liter bottle.
Cook County’s tax followed passage of similar legislation in three California cities as well as in Philadelphia, where the tax is generating revenues below projected estimates and reportedly has driven related business out of the city.
Cook officials have said the new tax is needed to pay for services and will improve the public's health over time. The tax applies to beverages that contain sugar as well as artificial sweeteners.