Soda Tax Has Some Fizz In State Senate
A measure aimed at reducing the epidemic of childhood obesity is making its way through the California state Senate. The bill would impose a penny-per-ounce tax on sodas and other sugary drinks. Milk products and beverages containing more than 50 percent juice would be exempt.
Supporters of the tax, authored by state Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), say soft drinks are a major contributor to childhood obesity. Reports show nearly one-third of all 5th and 7th graders in San Diego are overweight or obese.
The tax would generate more than $1.5 billion dollars each year in California, supporters say. The money would be earmarked for community and statewide obesity prevention efforts.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say a soda tax could cut consumption by up to 10 percent. They suggest the tax might also prompt manufacturers to reduce the sugar content in their drinks.
The tax won't be approved at all if the soft drink industry has its way. The industry spent millions to defeat recent soda tax measures in the California cities of Richmond and El Monte.