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Cook County Votes 'Yes' on Soda Tax

Cook County, Ill., the second-largest county in the country and part of the Chicago metropolitan area, will receive a penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, including ones containing zero-calorie sweeteners, following a vote among commissioners.

The beverage tax, anticipated to bring in $224 million per year, was approved following a rare tied vote that required a tiebreaker from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the Chicago Tribune reported. It will go into effect July 1.

Home to 5.2 million residents, Cook County will become the largest area in the nation with a tax on sugary carbonated soft drinks. The tax will add 72 cents to the cost of a six-pack of soda or 68 cents for a 2-liter bottle. It also will be imposed on fountain drinks at a penny per ounce, bringing the tax on a 7-Eleven Gulp, for example, to 32 cents, and on a Double Gulp to 50 cents. It won't, however, apply to drinks bought with a Link card issued to families in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as additional consumer taxes cannot be added under the program.

The new tax quickly follows the passing of similar legislation in three California cities – San Francisco, Oakland and Albany – and Boulder, Colo.

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