California governor Jerry Brown signed a new law banning new soda taxes initiatives until 2030 and thereby stopping local initiatives planned and in progress. The American Beverage Association — representing the soda industry — has its fingerprints all over the legislation.
The strategy of using state legislation to stop local soda taxes exactly mirrors the tactics earlier used by the tobacco industry.
Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, among many others, had a fierce reaction to the new law:
The bill – a last-minute, backroom deal, negotiated and written in secret by beverage-industry lobbyists and their allies—is a significant step backwards in the ongoing effort to reduce overconsumption of sugary drinks. This is one of the worst pieces of legislation I have seen in more than 30 years spent fighting for better health for kids and families.
- The Hill: California just banned soda tax — it should set off alarm bells everywhere
- Food Politics: Big Soda strong-arms California: no more soda taxes for 12 years. Shame!
Whether any products should be taxed at all is a larger question, and it depends on political philosophies that lie beyond the scope of our website. But if we accept taxes on addictive potential public health hazards like alcohol and tobacco, sugar-sweetened soda should probably be in the same category.