Fioretti warns of greater Chicago exodus following beverage tax
Bob Fioretti wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to how he feels about the new Cook County beverage tax.
“I’m totally against the tax,” the former Chicago alderman and mayoral candidate told the Chicago City Wire.
Fioretti tweeted that the cost makes drinks approximately 25 percent more for the “same exact product with the Cook County beverage tax vs. bought in Indiana.”
"I call this a portal tax, where you can go someplace else and buy the same thing without having to pay the same tax," he said. "You can go elsewhere and leave the tax in the city. It’s just another way to grab money from taxpayers.”
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association filed a lawsuit against the tax, contending that it was unconstitutional. The suit brought a temporary restraining order on the tax, delaying it for a month, until Aug. 2. In response, Cook County filed a countersuit, claiming the delay cost it $17 million in lost revenue, and later withdrew its suit.
“A lot of politicians are now making more than $200,000, but this is a regressive law that hurts poor people and small businesses more than anyone,” Fioretti said. “The portal tax also means you leave the taxed area, and once you do you buy your other objects in other places also."
Fioretti said he worries that politicians aren’t taking the damage being caused by the rax seriously enough.
“When I was in the council, I saw how politicians always take the easy way out,” he said. “That constituents are now buying outside Cook County worries me because what that means is next they’ll be moving away. We’re the only city among the largest ones experiencing population decrease. People are voting with their feet. On the path we’re on, outmigration will continue. We have to find ways to grow the tax base, not tax it away.”