Proposal Renews Calls For Tax On Sugary Beverages
A proposal to tax sugary drinks as a way to improve the nation's health had been considered dead. But it was given new life Wednesday by a group of experts who published their idea to tax soft drinks at a rate of 1 cent per ounce.
The Associated Press: "The experts' plan was released by the influential New England Journal of Medicine, in a health policy article by Arkansas' surgeon general, New York City's health commissioner and five national experts on health and economics. A soda tax would generate tax revenue while discouraging people from consuming extra calories, the authors contend. They cited a series of studies that showed higher rates of obesity and diabetes among women who drank more sugar-sweetened beverages."
"A national tax of that amount would generate nearly $15 billion in its first year, said proposal author Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. The money could be used for child nutrition and obesity prevention programs, the authors suggested. The tax also would lead to a yearly 2-pound weight loss for soda drinkers, on average, they estimated" (Stobbe, 9/16).
The New York Times: "The tax would apply to soft drinks, energy drinks, sports beverages and many juices and iced teas - but not sugar-free diet drinks. John Sicher, the publisher of Beverage Digest, a trade publication, said that a two-liter bottle of soda sells for about $1.35. At 67.6 ounces, if the full tax was passed on to consumers, that would add 50 percent to the price. A 12-can case, which sells today for about $3.20, could rise by $1.44, a 45 percent increase" (Neuman, 9/16).
The Wall Street Journal: "In a recent interview with Men's Health magazine, President Barack Obama said a soda tax is 'an idea that we should be exploring.' But he hasn't called for one, and doesn't foresee one as part of health-care reform. A White House spokesman said, 'The President's plan does not incorporate a soda tax and we don't anticipate that the legislation that emerges from Congress will include it.' Currently, 33 states have sales taxes on soft drinks, but the taxes are too low to affect consumption and the revenues are not earmarked for health programs, the new report said" (McKay and Bauerlein, 9/16).
Bloomberg: "Coca-Cola Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent called the idea of a federal tax on soft drinks 'outrageous' on Sept. 14 in response to proposals in Congress. 'I have never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink,' Kent said" (Lopatto, 9/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.