CHICAGO—In response to Alderman George Cardenas (12th)’s introduction of a soda tax ordinance, Illinois Beverage Association Executive Director Jim Soreng, issued the following statement:
“With approximately 100,000 Illinoisans directly and indirectly employed in the non-alcoholic beverage industry, our members and those who benefit from their success continue to play an essential role in Chicago’s economy. The non-alcoholic beverage industry, which includes small and large retailers throughout Chicago, comprises $6.2 billion in wages for occupations that rely on beverage sales in Illinois. The non-alcoholic beverage industry is responsible for $21.1 billion in economic impact in Illinois.
If we want to get serious about obesity, it starts with education – not laws and regulation. Residents and the more than 1,000 members of the We Deliver in Chicago coalition of community groups, small businesses, labor unions and chambers of commerce who are local partners of America’s non-alcoholic beverage companies, believe the debate should move on to real health solutions.
Demonstrated by our wide range of beverage choices, as well as efforts to reduce beverage calories in schools, provide clear calorie information on the front of our packaging, and work toward an ambitious goal to reduce beverage calories in the American diet, the Illinois Beverage Association will continue to do its part to help reduce obesity rates in Chicago and in Illinois.
Chicago has uniquely had a tax on soft drinks since 1992. It has clearly not impacted obesity. Let’s work together to find real solutions that address the nation’s health problems while ensuring important industries in the city are not stunted by punitive, ineffective taxes.”