John Coli, President of Teamsters Local 727, flanked by Sam Toia of the Illinois Restaurant Association (left) and Brian Jordan of the Illinois Food Retailers Association (right) at a ‘Can the Tax’ event May 18, 2017.

Opponents of Cook County’s penny per ounce tax on sweetened beverages packed Manny’s Deli in the South Loop Thursday morning, calling for a repeal of the tax just six weeks before it goes into effect. Retailers, grocery store owners, sales staff, and union representatives forecast job losses, a drop in overall sales, and more population drain as a result. County officials–who’ve balanced the next three budgets on expected revenues–say their fears are overblown.

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