California, The Latest State to Consider a Soda Tax
With the obesity epidemic still at large, several states have attempted to find new ways of encouraging healthy lifestyles and diets. One of the most recent and controversial attempts was made by New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who tried to place a ban on the sales of sugary drinks over 16 ounces. Although Bloomberg's latest attack on obesity by trying to limit sugar intake was unsuccessful, it seems to have inspired politicians from other states. Lawmakers from Sacramento, CA, will decide on a new bill proposing a tax on sugary drinks later on this week.
The bill, Bill 622, made it passed the first step this past Wednesday, April 24, 2013. It successfully cleared a tax committee, the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance with a vote of five to two. If the bill is passed and turned into a state law, California will soon be taxing sugary drinks one cent per fluid ounce. This means that a can of soda, which is 12 ounces, will have an added 12 cents extra in taxes. The bill defines sugary drinks as sodas, energy drinks and sweet teas. Although the bill has not been decided on, a field poll within the area revealed that 68 percent of voters preferred the soda tax if the money earned from the new state tax would be given to promote school nutrition and physical education programs.
"If you raise the price to be equivalent to healthful drinks, you'll reduce consumption, similar to a tobacco tax," Democratic Senator, Bill Monning stated. Monning sponsored the bill. "This is the first time this state committee has passed a bill that would place a tax on sugary drinks and the first step toward stemming the epidemic of childhood obesity."
This bill unsurprisingly has created a lot of controversy over whether or not the government has the right to tell the people how to consume their foods. If the bill passes, it will be a win for health advocates and politicians fighting against obesity in both children and adults.