The Cost of Soda Around Chi-Town Just Went Up
Sales tax on most sugary drinks just went up in Cook County. Here's the breakdown on what it could cost you to drink soda.
Your favorite sugary drink will now cost you a little more - or a lot more depending on its size. The Cook County beverage began August 1st and it might make you want to stick with other drinking options in and around the Windy City. How much will it affect costs? Good question.
What we do there be a penny-per-ounce tax on "sweetened beverages", according to Cook County's website.
The tax imposed will be at the rate of $0.01 per ounce on the retail sale of all sweetened beverages in Cook County.
We also know what qualifies as a sweetened beverage:
Bottled sweetened beverages (soda, sports drinks, flavored water, energy drinks, pre-made sweetened coffee and tea with less than 50% milk content, etc.).
Sweetened beverages produced from syrups using a beverage dispensing machine and powders using a beverage dispensing machine or by hand mixing (fountain drinks, lemonade, etc.).
The confusion is what it will cost for a fountain drink and the possibility of no more free refills. A restaurant owner in Chicago told WGN he has no idea what charge for, what used to be, a $1 fountain drink because he'll pay $.01 per ounce for the syrup for the machine. If you've never seen these cartridges, they can be pretty heavy.
Abid Moinuddin owns Chicken Planet in Chicago's Loop. Soda at the restaurant was $1 a glass with free refills. Now he says he doesn't know what to charge. Moinuddin reports he pays $75 for a box of soda mix. Starting Wednesday, he'll pay $35 more in taxes. He says refills won't be free.
If businesses do not follow this new sales tax and are caught, they will be charged $1,000 for the first offense and $2,000 for each thereafter.
According to WGN, the beverages that will not be taxed are...
... 100% fruit juice, juice concentrates and drink-mixes like Mio and Crystal Light, drinks for medical use, milk and infant formula, and unsweetened sparkling waters.
Guess what I won't be drinking when I'm in Cook County?