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The Soda Tax: Coming Soon To A City Near You?

Posted Apr 13 2010 8:39pm

Even though I live in the boonies of New Jersey, I have and always will be a New Yawker. So I'm always interested in news and stories coming from the other side of the river. Recently, New York has been discussing a new tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, in an effort (they say) to lower obesity rates.

I have to say - I'm all for it. Back in 2003, New York did a similar radical thing and banned smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars. A LOT of people made a big stink about it (mostly smokers of course), but I was THRILLED. As a non-smoker and an asthmatic it was so nice to go out for a night and not have to use my inhaler! The results of the smoking ban were pretty impressive: exposure to second hand smoke declined by 94% after the ban was put in place. (p. 12)

A recent report in the New York Times states that And this is not a battle against High Fructose Corn Syrup - sweetener is to blame for the overage in our diets. The tax suggested would be about 1 penny per ounce.

Of course, Big Business wants none of this - a direct quote from the article (bold type is my own):

The American Beverage Association, which takes major credit for an 88 percent reduction in sugared soda calories in the nation’s schools, has seriously undermined its credibility with ads opposing the so-called soda tax.

In association-sponsored commercials on television and radio,
Could you imagine? "" What a crock. The article goes on to list the many, many reasons why too much soda and sugar in general is not good for us.

My first thought as I read this article was, is a penny per ounce enough? If a guy normally buy a 20-oz. bottle of Coke for $1.59, is it really going to stop him if the price is now $1.79? The authors of the Soda Tax used a study from Yale that states that , so yes - they feel that this tax would reduce soda consumption by about 10%, and could possibly increase consumption of water and non-caloric beverages.

The best part of the tax is that the estimated $1.2 BILLION in revenue from the tax would be used for obesity prevention. Perhaps they could support local farmers so that organic foods would be more affordable for more people.

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