Soda Tax: Will it Fizz Out?

Categories: Government, Health
Giant soda.jpg
Liquid assets -- literally!
The truth: Soda is incredibly unhealthy -- and limiting the amount one drinks is one of the quickest ways to lose weight.

The truth: It is unlikely that two-thirds of California's elected representatives will agree to impose new taxes upon the populace, even if the hypothetical tax was levied upon the Antichrist.

Which brings us to the likely Flat-On-Arrival "soda tax" introduced yesterday by Santa Cruz-area Assemblyman Bill Monning. Would it raise billions for health-related causes? Sure. Do the vast majority of Californians agree that childhood obesity is a major problem? Of course. Does anyone want to pay a cent to back up the courage of their convictions? You need an answer for that?

A cent, by the way, is what you'd pay per ounce in the unlikely event Monning's tax is given the thumbs-up by two-thirds of the Assembly and Senate (The assemblyman notes "that is going to be an uphill climb." There's no other kind of climb -- except for straight up the wall. This may be an upwall climb, actually).

Old Coke ad.jpg
Pay up, hat man!
The tax, incidentally, wouldn't officially be placed on you, the consumer. It would be paid by the soda distributor and then all but certainly passed along the chain of consumers to the stores -- and, then, you.

If you were to quaff a can of soda, Gatorade, sweet tea, or other sugary drink a day, incidentally, you'd be out just under $44 a year. Citing figures from the California Center for Public Health, Monning pegs the average Californian's soda consumption at 50 gallons. That comes out to $64 a head per year, if the "Health Cost Recovery Act" becomes a reality.

Speaking of reality, Monning notes "I'm a realist" when asked the chances of his proposal reaching the governor's desk. "But this bill is a vehicle for public education. Hopefully it promotes and provokes a necessary conversation."

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Alayne Marie
Alayne Marie

AB 669 - Soda Tax. I am concerned about how the money that will be generated will be utilized to fight the obesity epidemic in our state. In particular, the money will be largely generated from low income communities. How then will the money be distributed? Equal distribution across the state would not be fair since it will not be generated equally. Moreover, as a person who works in downtown Los Angeles but lives in Compton, the money I spend while at work would not be reflective of creating obesity elimination programs in my community.

While I agree that liquid calories add to the challenge we face in our state with regards to excess weight. The limitation on fresh vegetables, foods, and variety of food stuffs is a larger problem. For instance, my local Ralphs has an entire freezer of cheddar chees; and an entire freezer of bacon. But the vegetable and fruit section is pathetic. Yet, I am fortunate because at least my community is not a food dessert.

I appreciate the thought behind the soda tax, but feel ultimately that this will just be another way to generate revenues for the state.

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