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County Going After Retail Group For Lost Soda Tax Millions

(CBS) – Now, it's the county's turn to sue over a controversial sweetened beverage tax.

That was the penny-an-ounce tax that was delayed because of a lawsuit by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

The Cook County Board President's Office says it has filed a motion seeking monetary damages because delaying the tax cost county government more than $20 million. The county reportedly seeks $17 million in damages.

"Actions have consequences. The delay in instituting the sweetened beverage tax was the direct result of IRMA and its co-plaintiffs bringing an 11th hour lawsuit against the County and securing a temporary restraining order," a spokesperson for President Toni Preckwinkle says.

The tax was supposed to go into effect July 1, but it started Wednesday instead, after retailers lost their bid to keep a restraining order in place.

IRMA says it will fight the county's attempts to make it pay up.

"We filed a timely lawsuit to have the tax declared unconstitutional and to stop the tax from taking effect on July 1st because it was the right thing to do on behalf of retailers in the county. This filing sends a very distinct signal to any person that believes they have a legitimate challenge to any law passed by the Cook County Board that they should think twice," a statement from the group said.

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