CALIFORNIA—On Tuesday, May 12, state lawmakers opposed a sugar tax that would add 2 cents per ounce on sweetened beverages. The Assembly Health Committee voted 10-6, leading to the dismissal of Assembly Bill 1357.
Created by Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, the bill was introduced as a way to fight off increased diabetes and obesity rates. According to the State Department of Health, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in California. In addition, obesity rates in California have risen from 8.9 percent in 1984 to 23.8 percent in 2011. These rates mostly effect low income households and communities of color.
Soft drinks such as soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and sugar sweetened beverages, offer no nutritional value according to experts. Studies have shown that there is a link between soft drinks and the rise of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Lobbyists believed the bill was unfair and singled out soft drinks while ignoring sugary foods. The tax was also said to be unfair to poor families who are viewed as the target market for these drinks.
The bill would have raised $3 billion a year for health programs in the state that focused on obesity, diabetes and heart disease.