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Soda tax opposition spends $1.4 million on new TV ads

The beverage industry-funded opposition to Cook County's sweetened beverage tax will spend $1.4 million on television ads leading up to a possible repeal vote.

The Can the Tax Coalition's announcement Tuesday comes days after former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to spend another $3 million on TV commercials in support of the penny-per-ounce tax, in addition to $2 million Bloomberg previously disclosed for a different ad. The flurry of ad spending comes in advance of the Sept. 13 Cook County Board of Commissioners meeting, at which a proposal to repeal the controversial tax is expected to be considered.

"Can the Tax will continue to share the facts about this dangerous tax and ensure the public knows if county commissioners choose President (Toni) Preckwinkle and a New York City billionaire over Cook County residents and businesses," said David Goldenberg, spokesman for the Can the Tax Coalition, in an emailed statement Tuesday.

The new ads will begin running Tuesday on broadcast and cable channels.

Can the Tax Coalition is funded by the American Beverage Association, the industry trade group representing giant corporations such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. The group has worked to organize local opposition to the tax among businesses and consumers. The coalition also paid for radio ads opposing the tax.

The county's sweetened beverage tax, which went into effect Aug. 2, applies to a vast array of sugar- and artificially sweetened beverages.

gtrotter@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @GregTrotterTrib

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