Calls for 'soda tax' on sugary drinks grow after year lacking in physical activity

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Posted at 2:56 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 17:58:10-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Calls for a tax on sugary drinks in California are growing louder after critics say the pandemic created a combination of a lack of physical activity and sugary drinks consumption that is contributing to serious health issues.

Family practitioner Dr. Melissa Campos told ABC 10News a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks could help combat higher rates of obesity heart, disease, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay. She added that soda taxes work.

"In other cities where it's been enacted, it has helped. Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and the Navajo Nation have sugary drink taxes. And the research has shown sugary drink purchases have decreased and the tax revenue has been used to support community programs," Campos said.

Campos added that it should be up to local municipalities how much is taxed and what that revenue is put toward and pointed to Assembly Bill 1163.

AB 1163 was last listed in state Assembly's Revenue and Taxation Committee in March. The bill would've erased a 2018 deal that prevents any local taxes on sugary drinks through Jan. 2031, and allowed cities and counties to decide whether or not they want to institute a tax on the drinks.

Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-North Hollywood), who authored the bill, said in a release last February that, "special interests should not be dictating policy to our cities. This bill gives power back to the people."

"Our cities have their hands tied behind their back by sugary special interests who place profits over people during a public health crisis," said Nazarian. "A tax on sugary drinks has been proven to decrease diabetes rates and improve health equity while providing our cities additional revenue to help our COVID-19 response."

Four California cities had enacted a local sugary drink tax before the 2018 preemption.