-By Warner Todd Huston
Over the last few days a western Cook County Walmart store hoisted a banner celebrating the end of the Cook County soda tax. The Walmart sign proves what a terrible idea this tax really was.
Months ago the county board for Cook, the county that boasts Chicago as its hub, levied a one cent per ounce tax on soda pop and sugared drinks. The tax was never popular. Even when it was passing the people were in the process of rising up against it and eventually the pressure got so bad that the board capitulated and announced that December 1 would mark the end of the tax.
The tax was set at a penny per ounce, so that was a hike of 20 cents per bottles of pop in a store cooler, 50 cents on a Double Gulp at 7-Eleven, and $2.88 on a case of pop at any Cook County store.
The tax was supposed to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the county budget over the next few years, but it was revealed that the county expected $18 million in new tax revenue in the first month of the tax. But all officials really got was $300,000 because people either bought their pop in another county or stopped buying pop altogether. So, when ever you hear a government entity proclaim how much they will make in taxes with a new tax, know this is always a lie.
Think I am just blowing steam? We go back to the Walmart mentioned above. This Walmart in Streamwood, a far western city in Cook County, had posted this sign in the week leading up to the end of the tax:
Folks, let’s realize what this sign really means. It means that Walmart felt it was worth the expenditure of a few hundred dollars to create this banner to alert customers that they can buy soda again without the odious tax.
But, this banner also tells us that Walmart must have been losing thousands of dollars in sales every week for them to feel paying to create this banner was worth their effort. This banner speaks to the oppressive force of taxes.
Clearly Walmart was losing tons of income because of this tax or the passing of the levy would have been unremarkable and certainly not worth putting up a banner to alert customers that it had ended. And with the paltry amount of money brought in compared to what the county projected, we can see that this Walmart is but one of thousands of stores that likely lost millions in sales over this period.
Taxes kill commerce and NEVER raise the amount lying politicians project they will.