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Drink up! The Cook County soda tax is about to go into effect

Zach Long
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Zach Long

You only have a few more days to sip a (relatively) affordable soft drink of your choice. Cook County residents will begin paying a penny-per-ounce tax on soda and other sweetened beverages on Wednesday, August 2, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune. On Friday, a judge dismissed a lawsuit that claimed the tax was unconstitutional, clearing the way for it to go into effect.

The new tax will tack on an extra 67-cent charge to a two-liter bottle of soda, but that's not the only type of beverage that will be subject to the tax. You'll be spending some extra change when you buy sugar– and artificially-sweetened drinks that are served in a bottle or from a soda fountain, including energy drinks, sports drinks and fruit juices that are not 100% juice.

The tax is expected to generate $67.5 million in additional revenue this year and $200.6 million in 2018—a nice chunk of change for a cash-strapped county that comes at the expense of soda and sugary beverage lovers. Of course, if you want to avoid the tax, you can always leave Cook County to purchase 12-packs and two-liters.

Like the bag tax before it, Cook County's soda tax may make you think twice about what you're purchasing, if only to avoid paying an additional fee. Any guesses as to what vice Chicago will start taxing next?

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