Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback

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Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle has a powerful ally helping convince consumers and voters that the county’s new penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax is good public policy. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is personally funding a $2 million commercial campaign against soda.

VIDEO

However, the tax has faced enormous backlash, beginning with retailers. Implementation was scheduled to start July 1, but the Illinois Retail Merchants Association filed a lawsuit to stop it. The judge on the case ultimately ruled that the tax could start being collected about a month later.

The delay in collecting the tax revenue forced Preckwinkle to announce layoffs of 300 county employees to help balance the Cook County budget. The soda tax was expected to bring in about $67 million in 2017 and another $200 million in 2018.

But the tax is remarkably unpopular with shoppers. Even though it has only been collected for a few weeks, a whopping 87 percent of county residents polled by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association do not approve of it.

Preckwinkle has steadfastly stood by the levy as it works its way through the legal system. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has appealed the decision and asked for a speedy legal resolution to which the county has agreed.

“We’re glad they agreed to an expedited appeal so we can get resolution to this issue in a timely manner,” said Tanya Triche Dawood, vice president and general counsel of IRMA. Dawood anticipates the appeals court decision sometime this fall.

Even with a quick appellate court decision, Preckwinkle is prepared for a long court battle. “Three or four years ago we initiated a tax on ammunition and that’s still being adjudicated,” said Preckwinkle. “So, I anticipate that this will be a long, slow progress through the courts.”

Opposition to the tax is also mounting in the Illinois House of Representatives where a new bill, HB4083, was filed to prevent Illinois counties from taxing sweetened beverages based on weight or volume. It was introduced on Aug.15 and seven days later, it had bipartisan support and 29 co-sponsors.

The sweetened beverage tax faces a repeal vote at next month’s Cook County Board meeting, Sept. 12.

Preckwinkle joins Eddie Arruza to discuss the sweetened beverage tax, Cook County finances and more.


Related stories:

Crain’s: Cook County Union Lauds Preckwinkle for New Contract

Aug. 21: As the fight over the Cook County sweetened beverage tax enters yet another round, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is getting some praise from one of the county’s biggest unions.


How Cook County’s Soda Tax Could Swallow Food Stamp Funding

Aug. 10: The rollout of Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax has been anything but sweet and easy. Now there’s concern it could put food stamps at risk.


Cook County Drops Suit Seeking $17M in Damages Related to Soda Tax

Aug. 8: Cook County’s new tax on sweetened drinks is sticking around, but Board President Toni Preckwinkle is dropping the county’s counter-lawsuit against the retailers who tried to get it tossed.


Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback

Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback

http://ift.tt/2wDnfrs

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle has a powerful ally helping convince consumers and voters that the county’s new penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax is good public policy. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is personally funding a $2 million commercial campaign against soda.

VIDEO

However, the tax has faced enormous backlash, beginning with retailers. Implementation was scheduled to start July 1, but the Illinois Retail Merchants Association filed a lawsuit to stop it. The judge on the case ultimately ruled that the tax could start being collected about a month later.

The delay in collecting the tax revenue forced Preckwinkle to announce layoffs of 300 county employees to help balance the Cook County budget. The soda tax was expected to bring in about $67 million in 2017 and another $200 million in 2018.

But the tax is remarkably unpopular with shoppers. Even though it has only been collected for a few weeks, a whopping 87 percent of county residents polled by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association do not approve of it.

Preckwinkle has steadfastly stood by the levy as it works its way through the legal system. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has appealed the decision and asked for a speedy legal resolution to which the county has agreed.

“We’re glad they agreed to an expedited appeal so we can get resolution to this issue in a timely manner,” said Tanya Triche Dawood, vice president and general counsel of IRMA. Dawood anticipates the appeals court decision sometime this fall.

Even with a quick appellate court decision, Preckwinkle is prepared for a long court battle. “Three or four years ago we initiated a tax on ammunition and that’s still being adjudicated,” said Preckwinkle. “So, I anticipate that this will be a long, slow progress through the courts.”

Opposition to the tax is also mounting in the Illinois House of Representatives where a new bill, HB4083, was filed to prevent Illinois counties from taxing sweetened beverages based on weight or volume. It was introduced on Aug.15 and seven days later, it had bipartisan support and 29 co-sponsors.

The sweetened beverage tax faces a repeal vote at next month’s Cook County Board meeting, Sept. 12.

Preckwinkle joins Eddie Arruza to discuss the sweetened beverage tax, Cook County finances and more.


Related stories:

Crain’s: Cook County Union Lauds Preckwinkle for New Contract

Aug. 21: As the fight over the Cook County sweetened beverage tax enters yet another round, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is getting some praise from one of the county’s biggest unions.


How Cook County’s Soda Tax Could Swallow Food Stamp Funding

Aug. 10: The rollout of Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax has been anything but sweet and easy. Now there’s concern it could put food stamps at risk.


Cook County Drops Suit Seeking $17M in Damages Related to Soda Tax

Aug. 8: Cook County’s new tax on sweetened drinks is sticking around, but Board President Toni Preckwinkle is dropping the county’s counter-lawsuit against the retailers who tried to get it tossed.


Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback

Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback

http://ift.tt/2wDnfrs

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle has a powerful ally helping convince consumers and voters that the county’s new penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax is good public policy. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is personally funding a $2 million commercial campaign against soda.

VIDEO

However, the tax has faced enormous backlash, beginning with retailers. Implementation was scheduled to start July 1, but the Illinois Retail Merchants Association filed a lawsuit to stop it. The judge on the case ultimately ruled that the tax could start being collected about a month later.

The delay in collecting the tax revenue forced Preckwinkle to announce layoffs of 300 county employees to help balance the Cook County budget. The soda tax was expected to bring in about $67 million in 2017 and another $200 million in 2018.

But the tax is remarkably unpopular with shoppers. Even though it has only been collected for a few weeks, a whopping 87 percent of county residents polled by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association do not approve of it.

Preckwinkle has steadfastly stood by the levy as it works its way through the legal system. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has appealed the decision and asked for a speedy legal resolution to which the county has agreed.

“We’re glad they agreed to an expedited appeal so we can get resolution to this issue in a timely manner,” said Tanya Triche Dawood, vice president and general counsel of IRMA. Dawood anticipates the appeals court decision sometime this fall.

Even with a quick appellate court decision, Preckwinkle is prepared for a long court battle. “Three or four years ago we initiated a tax on ammunition and that’s still being adjudicated,” said Preckwinkle. “So, I anticipate that this will be a long, slow progress through the courts.”

Opposition to the tax is also mounting in the Illinois House of Representatives where a new bill, HB4083, was filed to prevent Illinois counties from taxing sweetened beverages based on weight or volume. It was introduced on Aug.15 and seven days later, it had bipartisan support and 29 co-sponsors.

The sweetened beverage tax faces a repeal vote at next month’s Cook County Board meeting, Sept. 12.

Preckwinkle joins Eddie Arruza to discuss the sweetened beverage tax, Cook County finances and more.


Related stories:

Crain’s: Cook County Union Lauds Preckwinkle for New Contract

Aug. 21: As the fight over the Cook County sweetened beverage tax enters yet another round, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is getting some praise from one of the county’s biggest unions.


How Cook County’s Soda Tax Could Swallow Food Stamp Funding

Aug. 10: The rollout of Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax has been anything but sweet and easy. Now there’s concern it could put food stamps at risk.


Cook County Drops Suit Seeking $17M in Damages Related to Soda Tax

Aug. 8: Cook County’s new tax on sweetened drinks is sticking around, but Board President Toni Preckwinkle is dropping the county’s counter-lawsuit against the retailers who tried to get it tossed.


Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback

Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback

http://ift.tt/2wDnfrs

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle has a powerful ally helping convince consumers and voters that the county’s new penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax is good public policy. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is personally funding a $2 million commercial campaign against soda.

VIDEO

However, the tax has faced enormous backlash, beginning with retailers. Implementation was scheduled to start July 1, but the Illinois Retail Merchants Association filed a lawsuit to stop it. The judge on the case ultimately ruled that the tax could start being collected about a month later.

The delay in collecting the tax revenue forced Preckwinkle to announce layoffs of 300 county employees to help balance the Cook County budget. The soda tax was expected to bring in about $67 million in 2017 and another $200 million in 2018.

But the tax is remarkably unpopular with shoppers. Even though it has only been collected for a few weeks, a whopping 87 percent of county residents polled by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association do not approve of it.

Preckwinkle has steadfastly stood by the levy as it works its way through the legal system. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has appealed the decision and asked for a speedy legal resolution to which the county has agreed.

“We’re glad they agreed to an expedited appeal so we can get resolution to this issue in a timely manner,” said Tanya Triche Dawood, vice president and general counsel of IRMA. Dawood anticipates the appeals court decision sometime this fall.

Even with a quick appellate court decision, Preckwinkle is prepared for a long court battle. “Three or four years ago we initiated a tax on ammunition and that’s still being adjudicated,” said Preckwinkle. “So, I anticipate that this will be a long, slow progress through the courts.”

Opposition to the tax is also mounting in the Illinois House of Representatives where a new bill, HB4083, was filed to prevent Illinois counties from taxing sweetened beverages based on weight or volume. It was introduced on Aug.15 and seven days later, it had bipartisan support and 29 co-sponsors.

The sweetened beverage tax faces a repeal vote at next month’s Cook County Board meeting, Sept. 12.

Preckwinkle joins Eddie Arruza to discuss the sweetened beverage tax, Cook County finances and more.


Related stories:

Crain’s: Cook County Union Lauds Preckwinkle for New Contract

Aug. 21: As the fight over the Cook County sweetened beverage tax enters yet another round, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is getting some praise from one of the county’s biggest unions.


How Cook County’s Soda Tax Could Swallow Food Stamp Funding

Aug. 10: The rollout of Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax has been anything but sweet and easy. Now there’s concern it could put food stamps at risk.


Cook County Drops Suit Seeking $17M in Damages Related to Soda Tax

Aug. 8: Cook County’s new tax on sweetened drinks is sticking around, but Board President Toni Preckwinkle is dropping the county’s counter-lawsuit against the retailers who tried to get it tossed.


Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback

Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback

http://ift.tt/2wDnfrs

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle has a powerful ally helping convince consumers and voters that the county’s new penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax is good public policy. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is personally funding a $2 million commercial campaign against soda.

VIDEO

However, the tax has faced enormous backlash, beginning with retailers. Implementation was scheduled to start July 1, but the Illinois Retail Merchants Association filed a lawsuit to stop it. The judge on the case ultimately ruled that the tax could start being collected about a month later.

The delay in collecting the tax revenue forced Preckwinkle to announce layoffs of 300 county employees to help balance the Cook County budget. The soda tax was expected to bring in about $67 million in 2017 and another $200 million in 2018.

But the tax is remarkably unpopular with shoppers. Even though it has only been collected for a few weeks, a whopping 87 percent of county residents polled by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association do not approve of it.

Preckwinkle has steadfastly stood by the levy as it works its way through the legal system. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has appealed the decision and asked for a speedy legal resolution to which the county has agreed.

“We’re glad they agreed to an expedited appeal so we can get resolution to this issue in a timely manner,” said Tanya Triche Dawood, vice president and general counsel of IRMA. Dawood anticipates the appeals court decision sometime this fall.

Even with a quick appellate court decision, Preckwinkle is prepared for a long court battle. “Three or four years ago we initiated a tax on ammunition and that’s still being adjudicated,” said Preckwinkle. “So, I anticipate that this will be a long, slow progress through the courts.”

Opposition to the tax is also mounting in the Illinois House of Representatives where a new bill, HB4083, was filed to prevent Illinois counties from taxing sweetened beverages based on weight or volume. It was introduced on Aug.15 and seven days later, it had bipartisan support and 29 co-sponsors.

The sweetened beverage tax faces a repeal vote at next month’s Cook County Board meeting, Sept. 12.

Preckwinkle joins Eddie Arruza to discuss the sweetened beverage tax, Cook County finances and more.


Related stories:

Crain’s: Cook County Union Lauds Preckwinkle for New Contract

Aug. 21: As the fight over the Cook County sweetened beverage tax enters yet another round, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is getting some praise from one of the county’s biggest unions.


How Cook County’s Soda Tax Could Swallow Food Stamp Funding

Aug. 10: The rollout of Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax has been anything but sweet and easy. Now there’s concern it could put food stamps at risk.


Cook County Drops Suit Seeking $17M in Damages Related to Soda Tax

Aug. 8: Cook County’s new tax on sweetened drinks is sticking around, but Board President Toni Preckwinkle is dropping the county’s counter-lawsuit against the retailers who tried to get it tossed.


Toni Preckwinkle Discusses Cook County Soda Tax Pushback

Illinois residents face Obamacare rate hikes of up to 43%

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Illinois residents who buy their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace can expect double-digit premium increases beginning next year, according to newly released rate information submitted by insurers.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, which has nearly 295,000 members in small group plans alone, reported to the federal government that it expects to raise rates by up to 22.9 percent. Cigna Healthcare of Illinois expects a 37.7 percent premium rate hike on its individual plan, while Health Alliance Medical Plans reports possible increases of 43 percent on individual plans.

Insurers reported multiple reasons for the increases, including rising costs in health services and prescription drugs and uncertainties about the future of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

“Our product pricing also reflects uncertainty and the associated risks that exist within this marketplace, including uncertainty around things like the continued funding of cost-sharing reductions and policies that encourage broad and continuous coverage,” Blue Cross spokeswoman Erika Callahan said.

The cost-sharing subsidies, which are distinct from the Affordable Care Act’s premium subsidies, lower enrollees’ out-of-pocket medical costs based on their annual income. But Congress has filed suit over the legality of these subsidies, arguing that funding for the subsidies had not been provided within the Affordable Care Act.

“No final decisions have been made regarding our level of 2018 market participation, product offerings or rates,” Callahan said. “We continue to monitor the fluid regulatory environment for the individual market and advocate for public policies intended to improve coverage and affordability.”

The rate hikes also reflect higher costs for medical services and drug treatments, as well as a greater use of services and new technologies, according to the company.

A Cigna spokesman said the insurer had nothing further to add beyond its pricing explanations filed in Illinois. But the insurer’s filing assumes that the cost-sharing subsidies would not be funded next year.

“This assumption contributes to the average increase,” Cigna said in its filing. Overall, its nearly 27,000 customers can expect to see a 35.3 percent rate increase on average, according to the filing.

The Cigna filing also reports concerns about changes in the “morbidity profile” of new enrollees and enrolling members. Medical and pharmacy services will increase in cost above 2016 levels, the company said.

Laura Malbry, a spokeswoman for Health Alliance, said that the rate increases to some extent are based on familiar variables, such as how often health plan members use their coverage for both serious health conditions and wellness benefits.

“What’s different this year is the high level of uncertainty on the regulatory front,” Malbry said. “Health plans must plan for the possibility the individual mandate and/or federal subsidies going away. Like many others, Health Alliance hopes lawmakers will continue to meet to bring certainty back to the market.”

Anthony LoSasso, a professor of economics and health policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, rejects the idea that the rate increases have much to do with normal cost increases within the health care industry.

“General health care inflation is perhaps a few percentage points,” LoSasso told Illinois News Network, “but the bulk of these increases represent the fear of ‘adverse selection’ – that is, that the pool of enrollees will be disproportionately sick and therefore expensive to cover.”

There’s little that the federal government can do to alter this situation, except to encourage younger, vigorous people to buy policies in the exchange, according to LoSasso.

“As it stands now, the opposite seems to be happening – and it’s partly self-fulfilling,” he said. “By this, I mean reports of future premium increases will induce many to decide they will not re-enroll next year, which serves to propagate the so-called adverse-selection death spiral.”

If cost-sharing subsidies now provided through Obamacare are phased out, that would mean low-income enrollees would be at risk of higher out-of-pocket fees, or insurers would be forced to absorb those costs, according to LoSasso.

“Either way, individuals would find the plans far less appealing and disenroll, or insurers would find offering plans far less appealing and drop out of the market,” he said. “This would certainly accelerate the death spiral and decline of the individual marketplaces.”

Illinois residents face Obamacare rate hikes of up to 43%