Cook County Soda Pop Tax Goes Into Effect, Despite Retailers' Appeal

A look at the numbers behind Cook County's new soda tax. How will the tax work and how much will it cost consumers?

A group of retailers is appealing a judge's decision to dismiss a lawsuit that temporarily blocked Cook County's sweetened beverage tax.

The penny-per-ounce tax, originally slated to begin July 1 but delayed by the lawsuit, went into effect Wednesday.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association announced Tuesday that it is "appealing whether the judge used the correct standards in granting ... Cook County's motion to dismiss." Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak issued his ruling Friday.

The tax applies to both sugar- and artificially sweetened drinks. Drinks in bottles, or from fountain machines, are taxable. But on-demand, custom-sweetened beverages, such as those mixed by a server or barista, aren't subject to the tax.

The merchants group sued the county, alleging the tax violates a clause in the state constitution requiring uniform taxation of similar products.

Kubasiak ruled that the tax was within the county's authority and did not violate the state constitution.

Rob Karr, chief executive of the merchants association, said in a statement that the group is appealing "to protect retailers and consumers against this tax whose rules and regulations have continuously evolved throughout this process."

Retailers are urging the court to block the ordinance due to the lack of clarity in how to properly apply and administer the tax, he said.

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Find out how the tax could affect your next grocery store visit.