A proposal enacting a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to restore funding for health and dental services draws support from some advocates, including the Children's Alliance, and criticism from the soda industry. Olympia Newswire reviews the history of soda industry tax exemptions and how current lobbying efforts may remove the proposal from the table.
Vic Colman staffs the Washington state's Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, an umbrella group for 40 organizations under the fiscal sponsorship of the Children's Alliance. The coalition strives to reduce consumption of junk food as part of a larger push to address high rates of obesity. Trevor Griffey of the Olympia Newswire writes:
This year, as part of his work, Colman was the lead lobbyist in Olympia on behalf of an excise tax proposed by the Governor on soda pop, energy drinks, and other “sugar sweetened beverages.” The proposal, which would have put a 5 cents per 12 ounce tax on soft drinks, and repealed a tax break for soda syrup, offered a number of benefits, according to Colman: “you raise money, you shift behavior, and if you can then also dedicate the money to public health you have a three for [one].”
Despite heavy lobbying efforts by the soda industry, there's still a chance that the soda tax could return this session. Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children's Alliance, says:
“It’s always possible that legislators are going to grab a smart policy solution and put it into the mix. The fact that it’s in the 11th hour makes it a challenge.”