Judge bars implementation of proposed sugary beverages tax

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois judge on Friday temporarily halted the implementation of Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax, which is opposed by retailers.

Judge Daniel Kubasiak granted a temporary restraining order requested by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several grocers. In a lawsuit against the Cook County Department of Revenue, they argue the tax creates classifications between sweetened beverages that violates the uniformity clause of the Illinois Constitution and is unconstitutionally vague.

David Ruskin, a lawyer for the retailers, argued during a Thursday hearing that a restraining order was needed because there currently isn’t a system for refunds to occur should the tax eventually be found unconstitutional.

Assistant State’s Attorney Sisavanh Baker told the judge that the retailers lack standing in court since they’re just collecting the tax from consumers.

“This is a lawful tax,” Baker said.