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Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s regulations to stave off overconsumption of sugary drinks were overturned in state court. The measure banned sales of sugary drinks in excess of 16 ounces in restaurants and other food service establishments. Presently, after the New York court overruled the measure, sugary drink sales in New York City are not limited based on volume.

California has decided to take a different tack to the matter of consumption of sugary drinks in the spirit of fighting obesity – tax it.

A new bill working its way through the California Senate, S.B. 622, would impose a one cent tax:

  1. Per ounce on bottled sweetened beverages, and
  2. On sweetened beverage concentrate per fluid ounce of sweetened beverage to be produced from that sweetened beverage concentrate.

“Sweetened beverage” means any sweetened nonalcoholic beverage sold for human consumption that has caloric sweeteners and contains more than 25 calories per 12 ounces (excluding fruit and vegetable juice beverages containing more than 50 percent natural fruit or vegetable juice). The bill would also create the Children’s Health Promotion Fund to which sweetened beverage tax monies would be transferred. The Children’s Health Promotion Fund monies would then be used for statewide childhood obesity prevention activities and programs.

This form of tax legislation may mark the beginning of a new “sin tax” trend working its way through state legislatures under the guise of obesity prevention and control.

Click here to read S.B. 622.

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