Lawmakers Propose ‘Sin Taxes’ to Fund Health Care Programs, Trauma Centers
Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) has proposed legislation (SB 1520) that would add a surcharge to soft drinks, one of three recently proposed "sin" taxes aimed at "curb[ing] potentially deleterious forms of consumption," the Sacramento Bee reports. Ortiz's bill calls for an additional charge of two cents per 12-ounce can or 11 cents per two-liter bottle of soda. The tax would raise about $500 million for obesity-prevention programs and after-school activities (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 3/9). Other such legislation includes a bill (SB 1417) proposed last month by Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Rosemead) that would "establish a link between alcohol sales and increased costs to local governments for emergency services." Romero will likely amend the measure to include an "alcohol retailer fee," which would be charged on each serving of alcohol purchased in the state. The amount of the fee has yet to be determined, but revenue from the tax would fund the state's trauma care system (Rizzo, MediaNews Group/Chico Enterprise, 3/8). Ortiz has also proposed legislation (SB 1890) that would impose a 65-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes, bringing the state's tobacco tax to $1.52, the highest in the country. Ortiz said, "Adding a fee might put a greater incentive out there to exercise discretion and limit intake" (Sacramento Bee, 3/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.