California Takes Up Soda Tax Idea
California lawmakers are considering a bill this week that would tax sugary drinks to the tune of one cent per fluid ounce. That would add 12 cents to your typical can of Coke -- but not Diet Coke.
It would also affect the price of sweet tea, but not tea that you add sugar to yourself. Yes, this is making more and more sense.
The measure passed its first hurdle, clearing a tax committee on Wednesday, KTLA reports.
Supporters of the legislation say something must be done to slow the disturbing rates of obesity and diabetes. And a recent field poll found that 68 percent of state voters would support a soda tax if the money raised would go toward school nutrition and PE programs.
"If you raise the price to be equivalent to healthful drinks, you'll reduce consumption, similar to a tobacco tax," said Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), the bill's sponsor. Like what, that pricey water stuff?
But aside from resistance to the idea that government has the right to regulate what consenting adults eat and drink, the bill may be based on misguided notions.
Numerous studies have found that diet sodas and artificial sweeteners are more likely to promote weight gain and diabetes than traditional soda, including one by French researchers just in February. So, actually, the tax could be promoting behavior that is more harmful to California residents' health.
Could it just be another money grab by the state government? Nah! (Visualize moth flying out of empty wallet.)
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Los Angeles dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.