Foes, supporters vent on tax repeal, it goes to committee

CHICAGO (AP) - An effort to repeal a Chicago-area penny-per-ounce sweetened-beverage tax was referred to the Cook County Board's Finance Committee after opponents and supporters of the tax voiced their opinions.

Tax repeal supporters contended Wednesday it is driving businesses out of Cook County. However, they failed to get nine commissioners to bypass the committee and put the repeal up for a vote.

Tax supporters contend sugary beverages are linked to obesity, diabetes and other health problems.

The move to repeal the tax came after Board President Toni Preckwinkle told a Chicago civic group she didn't anticipate the pushback against the tax.

Preckwinkle says any vote is about "whether or not we want Cook County to be healthier, safer and more efficient." She also expressed appreciation for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's financing of an ad campaign backing the tax.