Delayed implementation of soda tax lead to layoff notices

CHICAGO (AP) — Layoff notices have been sent to 300 Cook County employees in the wake of the stalled implementation of a proposed sweetened drink tax.

The tax on sweetened beverages was supposed to go into effect July 1. A temporary restraining order was issued June 30 after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several grocers filed a lawsuit to block the tax. They say it is unconstitutional and too vague.

Cook County had projected collecting about $67.5 million in revenue from the tax this year and more than $200 million for fiscal year 2018.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says in a Friday statement that each county department had to cut 10 percent of its budget across the board to meet the revenue shortfall.

The state’s attorney’s office announced 17 prosecutors will be laid off, in addition to 22 other staffers.