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Friday, February 18, 2011

Soda Tax: Will it Fizz Out?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 1:30 PM

click to enlarge Liquid assets -- literally! - PAY UP, HAT MAN!
  • Pay up, hat man!
  • Liquid assets -- literally!

The truth: Soda is incredibly unhealthy -- and limiting the amount one drinks is one of the quickest ways to lose weight.

The truth: It is unlikely that two-thirds of California's elected representatives will agree to impose new taxes upon the populace, even if the hypothetical tax was levied upon the Antichrist.

Which brings us to the likely Flat-On-Arrival "soda tax" introduced yesterday by Santa Cruz-area Assemblyman Bill Monning. Would it raise billions for health-related causes? Sure. Do the vast majority of Californians agree that childhood obesity is a major problem? Of course. Does anyone want to pay a cent to back up the courage of their convictions? You need an answer for that?

A cent, by the way, is what you'd pay per ounce in the unlikely event Monning's tax is given the thumbs-up by two-thirds of the Assembly and Senate (The assemblyman notes "that is going to be an uphill climb." There's no other kind of climb -- except for straight up the wall. This may be an upwall climb, actually).

click to enlarge PAY UP, HAT MAN!
  • Pay up, hat man!
The tax, incidentally, wouldn't officially be placed on you, the consumer. It would be paid by the soda distributor and then all but certainly passed along the chain of consumers to the stores -- and, then, you.

If you were to quaff a can of soda, Gatorade, sweet tea, or other sugary drink a day, incidentally, you'd be out just under $44 a year. Citing figures from the California Center for Public Health, Monning pegs the average Californian's soda consumption at 50 gallons. That comes out to $64 a head per year, if the "Health Cost Recovery Act" becomes a reality.

Speaking of reality, Monning notes "I'm a realist" when asked the chances of his proposal reaching the governor's desk. "But this bill is a vehicle for public education. Hopefully it promotes and provokes a necessary conversation."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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