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

(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.”

New York Gov. David Paterson provoked a backlash recently by proposing an 18-percent tax on soda.
New York Gov. David Paterson provoked a backlash recently by proposing an 18-percent tax on soda.   (AP Photo/ John Hickey)
In this April 21, 2008 file photo, a customer takes a bottle of Pepsi from a display at  T & P Grocery in Hosford, Fla.
In this April 21, 2008 file photo, a customer takes a bottle of Pepsi from a display at T & P Grocery in Hosford, Fla.   (AP Photo/Phil Coale)
Cases of Coca-Cola on display at JJ&F Market in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, April 20, 2009.
Cases of Coca-Cola on display at JJ&F Market in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, April 20, 2009.   (AP Phoito/Paul Sakuma)
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