Illinois Lawmakers Consider Taxing Sugary Beverages
- Feb 25, 2015 | Gail Cole
The idea of imposing a special tax on sugary beverages such as soda is not new. Both Berkeley and San Francisco voters were asked to approve a soda tax last November, and those in Berkeley did. Chicago imposes a Home Rule Municipal Soft Drink Occupation Tax on sugary drinks sold at retail. The Healthy Eating Healthy Living Act (HEAL) which was introduced in Illinois last year and has been reintroduced recently, may create the first statewide soda tax in the country.
Highlighting the need to educate rather than regulate, the Illinois Beverage Association opposes the legislation. However, the measure has the support of more than 25 organizations.
A movement to tax soda is afoot at the federal level, too, although there is good reason to believe that Congress “won’t go near it anytime soon.” The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee proposes aligning policy with their recommendations, “including the use of economic and taxing policies to encourage the production and consumption of healthy foods and to reduce unhealthy foods.” Their report continues:
“For example, taxation on higher sugar- and sodium-containing foods may encourage consumers to reduce consumption and revenues generated could support health promotion efforts.”
Additional information about the Illinois Healthy Eating Healthy Living Act is available here.