A soda tax failed at the ballot at two California cities last November. Before that, a statewide soda tax failed two years ago. But advocates and legislators are trying again. A bill that would require a penny-per-ounce tax on any sugary beverage is back in front of legislators and, so far, has passed out of two Senate committees.
The bill by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) has two explicit goals: to “discourage excessive consumption” by increasing the price of sugary drinks and to create a Children’s Health Promotion Fund.
Richmond voters may have crushed an effort to pass a soda tax last fall, but that’s not stopping one lawmaker from trying to tax sodas statewide.
State Senator Bill Monning tried to pass a statewide soda tax two years ago that failed, but with Democrats expected to hang on to supermajorities in both houses, Monning thinks this time is different.
Just over three months since voters in two California cities — Richmond and El Monte — flatly turned down soda taxes on the ba, a new Field Poll released Thursday found a majority of California voters say they would support a soda tax if the funds raised were devoted to children’s health. While only 40 percent of voters said they favor a sugar-sweetened beverage tax, that number jumped to 68 percent if the proceeds will benefit school nutrition and physical activity programs.
Soda tax advocates are taking a lesson from tobacco taxes. The first cigarette taxes proposed years ago failed, but ultimately became accepted by voters and legislators. The beverage industry can “tell the tide is turning” says one advocate. Source: Kqed In Tuesday’s election, Richmond voters may have flatly rejected a move to make sodas more …
Richmond’s Measure N, which would have added a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, was defeated two-to-one. Source: Kqed It seems Californians are not ready to tax sugary drinks as a way of reducing obesity. Two measures — one in Richmond, and one near Los Angeles — both failed at the polls last night. Supporters of …
At last week’s American Public Health Association annual meeting, a team of researchers from across the country released their findings showing a soda tax would lead to a modest decline in diabetes cases across California. Source: Kqed A tax on soda would carry the greatest health benefits for black and Latino Californians, who face the …
My KQED colleague Mina Kim produced a great piece examining whether higher soda prices leads to weight loss — and the health benefits that come with it. She profiled a 17-year-old football player from Tracy — Jorge Cota, who at 5’11″ weighed 321 pounds. He had high blood pressure and may have had heart and kidney problems. That was a year ago.
While Cota since has made many diet changes, the first thing he did was cut out his drink of choice, Dr. Pepper. He had been drinking two or three cans or bottles a day.
On MacDonald Avenue, the city of Richmond’s main drag, Jeff Ritterman is pulling a little red wagon that holds a plastic water cooler jug filled with forty pounds of sugar. Ritterman says that’s the average amount a child in Richmond consumes each year, just from drinking sodas. “The child gets overweight,” he says, “and the arteries of the heart fill up with bad fat. And that’s a real health problem.”
Ritterman is a retired cardiologist who likes to wear his graying hair in a ponytail. He’s also a city councilman and the man behind a November ballot measure that would make Richmond one of the first cities in the nation to impose a penny-per-ounce tax on sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks.
The people of Richmond will decide in November whether businesses should have to pay a fee for every ounce of sugar-sweetened drinks they sell. In other words, a soda tax is on the ballot November 6th. If voters approve the measure, Richmond would be the first city in California to impose such a fee.
“The city of Richmond has the opportunity to make history,” Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy told me today, adding that the campaign will be closely watched nationally. “Cities and states will be watching this across the country. … They too want to put a small tax on sugary drinks and use those funds to mitigate the harmful effects that all these sugary drinks are causing.”
We’ve seen it with tobacco. As taxes went up, use went down. Public health advocates have been salivating over the prospect of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to give them a similar foothold in the obesity epidemic and the myriad health problems excess weight causes. But hard evidence on the health effects of such a tax has been limited.