SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – State Senator Bill Monning of Carmel is vowing to put on a full-court press for a tax on sugary drinks when the legislature reconvenes in Sacramento next week.

That’s in part due to a recent study by researchers at UC San Francisco, which found the state could save hundreds of millions of dollars in health costs by reducing the number of new diabetes cases.

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Monning likens his soda tax to the tobacco tax, which raises money for health education.

“Some people argue, it’s nanny government, shouldn’t people be able to make their own choice. We don’t take choice away,” he said. “We don’t take the product off the shelves. We’re seeking to price them in a manner that helps offset the cost we’re already paying. There is a public expense, a taxpayer’s expense right now given these uncontrolled trends of preventable disease, that we all end up paying for.”

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The tax would mean an extra 12 cents for a can of soda, or 67 cents for a two liter bottle, with an estimated $1.7 billion raised a year going towards health education. And Monning said the tax would cover more than just carbonated drinks.

“It has a threshold of calories and/or sugar content per volume,” he said. “So it does include sport drinks, sport teas and energy drinks.”

Monning’s bill now sits in the Senate Appropriations Committee and could go before the full Senate by the end of the month.

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