Some Chicago-area businesses are urging the Cook County Board to repeal the penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax.
Amber Stevens says beverage sales are down by $3,000 from last year at Harvey’s Corner, a convenience store she owns in south-suburban Country Club Hills. And overall, she says, total sales are down by 20 percent. Stevens said it’s because of the county’s beverage tax that went into effect August 2.
"We’re about three miles from Will County," she said, "and I do believe for all of our sales, people are just going elsewhere for it now instead of stopping at our store for anything.
Rosie Regas owns Fairplay Foods in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. She said sales at all six of her stores are down. Regas said that, if things don’t turn around soon for store owners like her, people will lose their jobs.
"We have to cut employee hours because we have less customers coming in," Regas said. "You can’t change your rent costs, you can’t cut your electric costs. Those things are fixed. Eventually we won’t be able to pay bills."
The Cook County Board is expected to discuss the tax at its next board meeting September 13. Board President Toni Preckwinkle says the county needs the money to balance the budget.