Statement from President Preckwinkle on County Board Approval of the Sweetened Beverage Tax

I am grateful to Chairman Daley and the Commissioners who supported the revenue proposal we brought today before the Finance Committee. Together with difficult budget cuts through layoffs and vacancy eliminations and management efficiencies, we will be able to move forward with a final vote on a balanced FY2017 budget next week. I am also grateful to the American Heart Association and members of their coalition, as well as to Mayor Bloomberg, for their support.

This sweetened beverage tax provides important revenue that will allow us to avoid damaging cuts in the funding for public health and public safety. It also puts us on a stable financial footing for the next three fiscal years during which we will not have to approve any additional tax increases and allow us to double our investment in community-based anti-violence initiatives. As importantly, this tax can play a positive role in important health issues that impact many of our residents – such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease – and lessen the financial burden on our Health and Hospitals System.

I recognize this was a difficult vote to cast in the face of organized and well-funded opposition. But supporting this proposal was the correct and courageous action by those Commissioners Arroyo, Butler, Garcia, Moody, Moore, Sims, Suffredin and Chairman Daley, and I thank them.