The newest locality to approve a tax on sugary beverages is also the largest — Cook County, home to 5.2 million people including the city of Chicago. The Cook County Board approved the 1-cent-per-ounce tax on a 9-8 vote with board president Toni Preckwinkle breaking a tie, said the Chicago Tribune.
The electoral tussles over 1-cent-per-ounce soda taxes in San Francisco and Oakland are becoming two of the most expensive campaigns in California this year with more than $46 million in donations, says public broadcaster KQED. The American Beverage Association has spent $28.7 million in fighting the taxes, said KQED, noting the nationwide ramification of referendums.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, the beverage industry is spending millions to convince voters that the proposed soda tax will raise their grocery prices, not just the cost of sugary drinks, says Bridget Huber in FERN’s latest story, produced with PRI’s The World.
The president of the Cook County Board proposed a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages — soft drinks, sports and energy drinks, and juices that aren't 100 percent fruit — to close a $174-million budget gap in the county that includes Chicago and 40 percent of Illinoisans. Like Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney, board president Toni Preckwinkle says the levy is fiscal tool.
The 21 percent decline in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) following implementation of a soda tax in Berkeley "has important public health implications, providing I think the strongest evidence so far that a tax would reduce SSB consumption," writes Parke Wilde, an associate professor at Tuft's Friedman School of Nutrition, at his blog U.S. Food Policy. The effect was found in a study published in the the American Journal of Public Health this month.
In a study of the Berkeley's first-in-the-nation soda tax, researchers found that lower-income residents had reduced their consumption by 21 percent, compared to the pre-tax days, the Los Angeles Times reported. The study, published Tuesday in the American Journal of Public Health, looked at the impact of the tax in the first five months after it went into effect.
Assemblyman Richard Bloom pulled California’s latest soda tax bill before it could come up for a committee vote on Tuesday, reports The Sacramento Bee.
Soda-taxes aren’t just an idea that liberals like, says Quartz. The soft drink industry is facing at least 12 soda tax initiatives on ballots across the country, including in places that don’t lean nearly as far left as Berkeley, California,
More than half of California is diabetic or pre-diabetic, says a new study out by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. Without treatment, more than 70 percent of pre-diabetics will eventually get the disease.
Mayor Tom Bates of Berkeley, Calif, says the city referendum on a 1-cent soda tax "will definitely be a turning point" in the drive to reduce obesity by making sugary drinks more expensive, say the New York Times.
The soda industry is pouring at least $2 million into two city referendums in California that propose a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, says Politico. The votes in San Francisco and Berkeley across the bay could influence national policy on obesity. "If the tax passes in one of the two cities, as polls show it might, it’ll be the first loss for the beverage industry, which has emerged undefeated in more than 30 similar fights in states and cities, from Maine to El Monte, California in recent years," says Politico. Conversely, if the initiatives fail, it may discourage attempts elsewhere.