In response to what he calls an “aggressive campaign soda manufacturers are waging for a particular demographic,” California Assemblymember Bill Monning recently introduced a measure that would use tax revenue from the sale of such beverages to fund critical childhood obesity programs.
Assemblymember Monning addressed the correlation between rising sugary beverage consumption and the costly childhood obesity epidemic in California. Currently, programs designed to counteract the epidemic are facing severe cuts in light of the state budget crisis.
“We’re witnessing the perfect storm- a costly childhood obesity crisis driven by a 228 percent increase in soda consumption, and looming budget cuts that would abandon the very programs protecting those children,” said Monning.
If enacted, the sweetened beverage tax (AB 669) could generate $1.7 billion annually by levying a penny an ounce on every sugar-sweetened beverage sold in California, such as sodas, sweet teas, and sports drinks.
Hear more of Monning’s thoughts in this Assembly Access video:
As extreme as it may seem, Monning’s bill isn’t the first time a California politician has spoken out against the sweetened beverage industry. Last year San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning vending machines on city property from dispensing Coke, Pepsi and other calorically sweetened beverages.
Image Credit: Flickr - Michael Licht, NotionsCapital.com