Congress Weighs Soda Tax

A few cents on every can could improve health
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted May 12, 2009 7:41 AM CDT
New York Gov. David Paterson provoked a backlash recently by proposing an 18-percent tax on soda.   (AP Photo/ John Hickey)
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(Newser) – With health care reform expected to run the government around $1.2 trillion, Congress is looking for ways to pay for it. A new idea bouncing around Capitol Hill is a soda tax, reports the Wall Street Journal. “Soda is clearly one of the most harmful products in the food supply, and it's something government should discourage the consumption of,” says a public interest advocate.

A three-cent tax on a twelve-ounce soda (and similar sugary drinks, such as bottled iced tea) would raise only $24 billion over four years, but might also have returns in health savings. Responds a spokeswoman for the American Beverage Association, “Taxes are not going to teach our children how to have a healthy lifestyle.”