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Morrison deserves praise for ending Preckwinkle Soda Tax
Sean Morrison upholds the anti-tax mandate of the voters in the suburbs of Chicagoland leading the charge to repeal Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s oppressive one-cent per-ounce tax on soda pop and sweetened taxes. Preckwinkle selected the tax because it would shield many of her own constituents from the harsh impact of the tax. But her coalition in support of the tax collapsed in the face of a massive public protest that many believe will continue into the elections in 2018, ousting Preckwinkle, a hypocrite who criticized her predecessor Todd Stroger for imposing a one cent sales tax and then after she was elected, imposed the same tax. Voters should not forget!
By Ray Hanania
(Published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group) — The one-cent tax on soda and sweetened drinks finally ended December 1. A penny doesn’t sound like much but the tax was compounded by being applied to the number of ounces in a drink. On one 20-ounce bottle of pop, the tax equaled 20 cents.
That was oppressive.
Worse is that the creator of the tax, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, devised her tax with the goal of exempting families who live in her district on Chicago’s South Side while placing the enormous tax burden on families who live in Chicagoland’s suburbs.
There are nearly 1.2 million residents who rely on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or Food Stamps) to make food purchases. Under Federal guidelines, you can’t tax SNAP spending.
The vast majority of SNAP recipients live in Chicago.
Preckwinkle could have proposed a sales tax on every sale in Cook County, but her own constituents would have been upset along with everyone else. Ironically, she won office by denouncing her predecessor Todd Stroger who imposed a one percent sales tax hike, and then after she was elected, hypocritically reinstated the Stroger sales tax.
Preckwinkle lied to get into office.
Sean Morrison represents the 17th District which cuts through Cook County’s suburbs from North to South. It includes much of the Southwest Suburbs. He is the Committeeman of Palos Township, which has been targeted by a small group of Middle East extremists who are politically allied with Preckwinkle.
If it wasn’t for Morrison, we would still be paying the one-cent per-ounce tax on soda pop and sweetened drinks.
Morrison is much like his anti-tax predecessor Liz Gorman. There is a history of speaking out against unfair taxes in the 17th District, and we should be thankful.
Preckwinkle, like many of her allies, place the burden of taxation on the suburbs while putting most of the services in Cook County. Many of her Chicago allies are anti-Suburbs.
Morrison was joined by a few other commissioners including 16th District Commissioner Jeff Tobolski of McCook.
Yet through sheer persistence, Morrison prevailed by refusing to be bullied. Preckwinkle, a Democrat, targeted Morrison, a Republican. The viciousness and personal animosity from Preckwinkle was heavy. Although Preckwinkle whined that she was disturbed by the personal nature of the criticism, the truth is that Preckwinkle made this personal and was even worse.
Families in these two districts could feel the burdensome weight of Preckwinkle’s tax. Most of the county’s services benefit Chicagoland residents. Suburbanites are an after-thought.
The suburbs are bullied by Chicago policies including the skewered policies and spending of the regional transit authority. We’re forced to cough up to help pay for the pathetic management of the Chicago public schools.
Suburbanites need to recognize that the issue isn’t Democrats versus Republicans. It is suburbanites versus Chicago politicians who don’t care about our issues or concerns.
When a politician steps up to the plate who cares for our concerns, we need to make sure we give that elected official our support.
Fortunately, I doubt that Preckwinkle can get re-elected this Spring. She faces a tough challenge from Bob Fioretti, who by the way would have beat Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the last mayoral election if he, not Jesus Garcia, had received the backing of the powerful Chicago teachers Union. And by the way, Garcia enthusiastically supported the Preckwinkle tax until the polls showed it might hurt his “electability.”
When the Preckwinkle soda tax finally came down, we owe our gratitude to Morrison, Tobolski, John Fritchey and Bridget Gainer, Chicago-based commissioners who had the courage to confront the oppressive tax, and to suburbanites Timothy Schneider, Richard Boykin, Gregg Goslin and Peter Silvestri.
Let’s not forget those courageous commissioners And let’s not forget Preckwinkle, who needs to go. It’s not a partisan issue.
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter. Email him at email@example.com.)
Voting for the tax in November 2016 were Luis Arroyo Jr., D-Chicago; Jerry “Iceman” Butler, D-Chicago; John Daley, D-Chicago; Garcia; Edward Moody, D-Chicago Ridge; Stanley Moore, D-Chicago; Deborah Sims, D-Chicago; and Larry Suffredin, D-Chicago.
Voting against the tax in November 2016 were Richard Boykin, D-Oak Park; John Fritchey, D-Chicago; Bridget Gainer, D-Chicago; Gregg Goslin, R-Glenview; Sean Morrison, R-Palos Park; Schneider; Peter Silvestri, R-Elmwood Park; and Jeffrey Tobolski, D-McCook.
Absent was Commissioner Robert Steele, D-Chicago, a Preckwinkle ally who was hospitalized earlier in the week.
The Cook County Board voted 15-2 to end the tax starting Dec. 1. The vote came just more than two months after the tax took effect Aug. 2.
Voting to repeal the tax in 2017 were the original foes of the tax, Richard Boykin, D-Oak Park; John Fritchey, D-Chicago; Bridget Gainer, D-Chicago; Gregg Goslin, R-Glenview; Sean Morrison, R-Palos Park; Schneider; Peter Silvestri, R-Elmwood Park; and Jeffrey Tobolski, D-McCook; and these commissioners reversed their votes in the face of massive public opposition, Luis Arroyo Jr., D-Chicago; John Daley, D-Chicago; Garcia; Edward Moody, D-Chicago Ridge; and Stanley Moore, D-Chicago; and Deborah Sims, D-Chicago.
Voting against the repeal and against the interests of the taxpayers were Evanston Democrat Larry Suffredin and Chicago Democrat Jerry Butler.
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Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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