CHICAGO -- A judge last week ordered Cook County, Ill. to stop collecting a new tax that the county began to levy last year to help offset a 2013 budget deficit.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Robert Lopez Cepero issued a preliminary injunction against the use tax last Wednesday, after the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and two law firms representing Cook-based companies sued the county.

The tax was levied on big-ticket, non-titled items, such as furniture and office supplies, that are sold outside of Cook County but used by businesses located inside the county. The county imposed it in 2012 to generate revenue from businesses that the county said were deliberately purchasing goods outside the county to avoid its sales tax.

The law firms argued that the county did not have the authority to impose the tax under state law and that it violates the state constitution.

The board originally approved a 1.25% tax, later reducing it to 0.75% to match the county's current sales tax rate. Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle has said the county's home-rule powers authorize the tax, and a spokesman said the county will "vigorously" defend its right to impose the tax, according to local reports.

The county will reportedly lose around $11.7 million a year if not allowed to levy the tax.

The next court date is set for Sept. 10.

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