Monday Rx | July 9th, 2018 | Statewide Soda Tax Ballot Measure for 2020
This announcement came four days after the multibillion-dollar soda industry held the state of California hostage with a dangerous ballot threat that jeopardized the fiscal outlook of local governments, forcing the state to pre-empt local authority and pass an unprecedented 12-year moratorium on any local soda tax.
This 2020 ballot initiative would implement a statewide tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, providing at least $1.7 billion in revenue for critical health programs and constitutionally preserving the ability of California’s local communities to make their own decisions regarding future soda taxes.
Dustin Corcoran, CMA chief executive officer, and Carrie Gordon, CDA chief strategy officer, issued the following statement:
In the face of growing public support for local health taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, the billion-dollar global soda industry last week put corporate profits ahead of public health and forced an ultimatum upon the leadership of California’s state government.
Big Soda may have won a cynical short-term victory but, for the sake of our children’s health, we cannot and will not allow them to undermine California’s long-term commitment to health care and disease prevention.
There is overwhelming evidence of the link between obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and heart disease and the consumption of sugary-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas and sports drinks.
Around the world and in local communities, reasonable soda taxes have been proven effective in dramatically reducing consumption of sugary drinks and improving the public health, especially among children.
California’s health care provider community is united behind ensuring that California voters have the opportunity to protect our children’s well-being – not the profit margins of soda conglomerates.
The proposed 2-cents-per-fluid-ounce tax would mean an additional 24 cents tacked onto the cost of a 12-ounce can, or an extra $1.34 for a 2-liter bottle sold in the state.
The proposal sets the stage for a marquee statewide battle between health groups and the soda industry — a feud that has been simmering in California’s cities and counties for years and burst into full view in the state Capitol last week.
With the battle lines forming for 2020, the soda industry has had little time to savor its recent victory.
The soda industry has long fended off taxes at the state and local level. Berkeley became the first to pass a tax in November 2014 and since then, three other Bay Area cities — San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany — have imposed their own levies.
Until recently, the battle over a statewide soda tax had been fought — and won — by the industry in the Legislature. A recent legislative analysis counted proposals dating back to 1983 that had fizzled at some point during negotiations in Sacramento.
Similar to our efforts related to the 2016 victory in supporting Proposition 56, the Tobacco Tax Increase Initiative to support access to care and improve the quality of medical services, our member leaders will continue to advocate for policies and programs that benefit the health of our communities and the well-being of patients. I encourage members to help share the message let me knowif you have any questions or have an idea or opinion to share.
Read the full LA Times story here.
Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles County Medical Association
“If it matters to our LACMA members, it matters to me.
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