Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee to Hold Hearing on Soda Tax Legislation Wednesday
The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on a bill (SB 1520) that would impose a state excise tax on soda and other sweetened soft drinks, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Corcoran, San Jose Mercury News, 4/20). Earlier this month, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed the bill, which would impose a two-cent tax per 12-ounce serving of soda and other sweetened beverages on beverage distributors (California Healthline, 4/12). The legislation would exempt diet sodas, infant formula, milk products and soft drinks that contain more than 10% natural fruit juice from the tax (SB 1520 text). The bill would raise about $342 million per year for a new California Child Health and Achievement Fund. Under the legislation, the state would spend 30% of the fund to help middle and high schools that voluntarily abandon the sale of junk food; 25% for nutrition and physical education programs at elementary schools; 15% for obesity prevention programs; 15% for dental care; and 15% for Healthy Families (San Jose Mercury News, 4/20). According to supporters of the legislation, the new tax revenue would help schools decrease their reliance on vending machine contracts with soda companies (California Healthline, 4/12). Although some state schools support the bill, many groups -- including food and beverage companies, anti-tax organizations and consumer and business advocates -- oppose the legislation (San Jose Mercury News, 4/20).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.