why focus on soda and sugary drinks?
what drinks would the fee apply to?
what’s the difference between a tax and a fee?
is this a grocery tax?
are sugary drink fees regressive?
It depends. The unfortunate truth is that diet-related diseases–which are by and large caused by sugary drink consumption–are regressive. It’s well documented that both the health and cost burden of these diseases gets disproportionately shouldered by lower income households. By reducing sugar consumption, this proposal can actually save these same households millions of dollars in healthcare costs.
However, that’s not enough. The most effective way to prevent a regressive tax is to ensure that revenues get channeled directly back to the communities that are most impacted. This can include programs like farm to school, DA BUX, and more (see a list of more ideas below). This proposal is actually a progressive way to improve the health of communities most affected by diet-related disease. Low-income children and families will experience the largest health benefits from a fee on sugary drinks because the revenue generated can fund healthy programs that can help those who need them the most.
how would the revenue be spent?
Revenue generated from the fee (projected at least to be $65.8 million) can be used for health improvement programs that our communities need! Such community benefits can include: Nutrition programs for low-income residents, such as Double Up Food Bucks
Nutrition programs for low-income residents, such as Double Up Food Bucks School cooking and gardening programs Pre-K expansion College-readiness programs Safe active spaces and physical education programs Oral health services Other programs to prevent childhood obesity and chronic disease
will a sugary drink fee harm the economy and result in job loss?
Similar to Big Tobacco, the beverage industry likes to make the same claim when fighting taxes. There is no current evidence that tax increases led to a drop in store revenues or job losses. In fact, similar price increases have shown that purchases of bottled water and other healthier options increases as demand for unhealthy sugary drinks declined.
As consumers shift to healthier products, this provides an opportunity for the beverage industry to come out with new, healthier beverage options, similar to the U.K., averting job losses.