California To Consider Tax On Sugary Sodas

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The California state legislature is about to take up a bill that would tax soda and other sugary drinks with the money raised going to schools to pay for education and children’s health programs.

A penny per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened drinks would bring California an estimated $1.7 billion a year.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

“What a tax like this does is mitigate the harm that these products are doing,” said Dr. Howard Goldstein with the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, who authored a study on the proposed tax. “Drink one 20 ounce soda and it’s like drinking a piece of chocolate cake.”

Goldstein said that 85 percent of the revenue generated would go directly to schools and counties to fund programs promoting good health.

“We’re talking youth sports programs, after-school programs and in-school things as well like physical education and healthy school lunches,” said Goldstein.

He says the tax is especially needed because budget deficits are leading to the slashing of such programs.

However, Jon Coupal with the Sacramento-based Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association says California already has among the highest taxes in the nation, and this is not the time to impose another one. He also said that it could backfire.

“People will change their behavior to avoid taxation like they do all the time, whether it’s moving out of state, or purchasing things online or in other jurisdictions,” said Coupal.

A committee hearing on the soda tax bill is set for Monday. A two-thirds vote is required for it to pass.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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