Friday, April 26, 2013

California eyes penny-per-ounce tax on sodas and energy drinks to combat child obesity

English: McDonald's patron, 2006.
In California, big gulps could soon be taxed in a big way. A bill that would tax sweetened beverages like soda and energy drinks a penny per ounce cleared a hurdle Wednesday in the California Legislature. The state Senate Governance and Finance Committee passed SB-622 by a 5-2 vote, sending the controversial measure on for review by the Senate Health Committee.

“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,” the bill’s lead sponsor, Democratic Sen. Bill Monning said in a news release.

The bill exempts drinks that contain fewer than 25 calories, and the funds raised by the excise tax would go to the state’s newly created Children’s Health Promotion Fund, as well as programs that combat childhood obesity.

“By taxing these products we will be able to implement programs that will assist in preventing disease among children and begin to address a public health crisis whose rising health costs affect all Californians,” Monning said. Read more >>
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