In the United States soda is an extremely popular and well-enjoyed beverage. In fact, it has been for over fifty years. But recently, many local governments have proposed a tax on soda and other sugary beverages. This has led to some controversy in the cities that propose them where soda is often cheaper than buying water. But many ask if this tax could benefit lower-income communities.
“It would help certainly with diabetes and obesity epidemic, just like the tobacco tax did in California,” says Dr. Kimberly Laurenson. “Studies show that the tax on tobacco products decreased the number of smokers. We are to assume it would do the same for soda and other sugary drinks, mostly because there has never been documented evidence or studies on soda taxes yet.”
Studies do typically show when a tax is implemented, average people are less likely to purchase that item. Local governments in California see this opportunity as a way to implement programs to help people who suffer from Type-2 diabetes and other problems related with obesity by using the tax dollars collected from the sale of sugary beverages. With the tobacco tax on California, the tax dollars collected from the $2 per pack tax goes to programs which help people quit smoking.
It’s possible that local cities could see the same thing happen if there were a soda tax, but recently there was a law signed saying there can’t be a soda tax in California for at least the next twelve years. Soda company representatives and lobbyists had actually met with Governor Jerry Brown at his house in the weeks before the law was signed, but Brown declared to the public that the meeting wasn’t about the soda tax or any policy. Some people see this move as yet another example of big corporations holding local government hostage for their own benefit.
Healthcare officials have started to fight back, starting an initiative to bring taxes to sugary beverages. They are fighting back towards soda corporations to bring more people to vote on this initiative in 2020.