A California lawmaker has introduced legislation that would slap a penny-per-ounce tax on every soda and sugar-sweetened beverage sold in the state.
The tax could raise $1.7 billion annually, which would be used to finance childhood obesity prevention programs.
“We’re witnessing the perfect storm – a costly childhood obesity crisis driven by a 228 percent increase in soda consumption and looming budget cuts that would abandon the very programs protecting those children,” Assemblyman Bill Monning, who introduced the legislation, said in a statement released by his office. “AB 669 will address these problems. It’s only fair that the sweetened beverage industry pay their fair share to address the crisis.”
Revenue raised by the tax would go to improvement in school food service, physical education classes and improved access to fresh water in the schools. The money would also go to grants for local communities to make it easier for kids to stay active by improving parks, supporting recreation programs and paying for after school programs.
A recent Field Poll found that near 60 percent of Californians believer childhood obesity is a “serious problem” and a majority of the state’s voters support a soda tax with the money dedicated to fighting childhood obesity.