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Will The Soda Tax Fizzle?

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Law makers in California have become the last stand defense for the soda tax on sugary drinks. The industry has been under fire by lawmakers across the country who have been looking to put a tax on all sugary based drinks, primarily soda. Soda manufacturing giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co., have both fought back against the tax proposal in various cities across the country over the last two years. The current debate in California may be the last stand for pro tax advocates leaving the public to wonder if this is the end of the line for the soda tax.

Soda Under Firesoda tax 4

The soda industry has been under fire for many years. The high sugar drink that has had claims made against it for the last two decades has constantly been the subject of debate. Obesity and health concerns have kept the industry giants in the main focus of the populous, while smear campaigns have been run by both sides against each other. Pro tax advocates siding on tax less healthier have been arguing for taxes to placed on sugary soda drinks in an effort to promote a healthier living. Some of the ongoing concern is how the population has been conditioned over time to want to buy soda beverages and how simple cost favors a soda drink over more healthier options. Industry leaders have for years combated these claims by funding and supporting groups like Citizens Against Beverage Taxes which are comprised of pro-beverage supporters. The beverage industry is not one that is likely to back down either. With billions of dollars of profits worldwide every year behind them, industry leaders has successfully fought against taxes against their products in major cities all across the nation.

A poll taken of the population concerning the issue of proposed taxes has also shown favor for the beverage companies. Between 2009 and now, over 30 taxes associated with sugary beverages have been introduced across the country and have yet to gain much traction. It would seem that many people are in favor of a no extra tax on sugar drinks. The growing consensus is that legislation shouldn’t be enacted to curb people from making choices, that the choices if they are to be curbed should come from better alternatives or personal choice not government mandates.

California’s Proposed Taxes

Many analysts on the proposed taxes of sugary drinks have been quoted in saying if the movement fails to pass in the state, this could be the end of the beverage tax debate in the country. The stakes are high for both sides because of the severity of implications that would come from either side winning. On the hand of the soda companies, this decisive win would help quell any further action that could be taken against them in the future. For pro tax advocates, if the tax laws get passed it would be a clear cut win for future health conscious legislation. The two cities in which this debate has lasted is in Berkley and San Francisco, both cities known for more liberal political landscapes. This has truly become the last stand for the promoters of the sugar based pro tax groups because of failures to pass the law in other cities around the nation as well as in other cities in California.

In San Francisco the current proposed tax is on all sugar based drinks excluding fruit juices or milk that don’t have added sugars. The tax would include a two cent per ounce tax on all sugary drinks that would have to pass with a 2/3 majority. In Berkley the tax proposed would hold the same requirements on sugary based drinks but would only have a penny per ounce tax added and only needs a majority vote in order to pass and be enacted into law.

A Slippery Slopesoda tax1

Many people are uncertain whether they would like to see a tax proposal like this passed because of the longer term ramifications that could also be introduced into law. Some are wondering where the limit would be placed and what foods and beverages would be targeted in the next wave of proposed taxes. In any case the base understanding of the debate currently going on in California has many people wondering if the supporters of this type f tax will lose because they might have tried to gain too much too quickly. The understanding is that if more reasonable caps on sizes were to be placed on the drinks that people would have been more receptive when it came time to vote.


The biggest question on this topic is wondering if the proposed soda tax will succeed or fizzle out. Time will tell whether or not the taxes are aimed to succeed or fail miserably as it has done so far in many other cities across the nation.


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