Big Soda’s spending big
Big Soda is running scared and spending big. Through their trade association, Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper, et al have now poured over $30 million into fighting taxes on sugary drinks just this year.
And that was before today’s big blow: The World Health Organization urged all countries to tax sugary drinks. “If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives,” said Dr. Douglas Bettcher, who heads WHO’s department for preventing non-communicable diseases.
This comes on the heels of an embarrassing report that unmasked how Coca-Cola and PepsiCo sponsored at least 96 national health organizations at the same time the companies were lobbying against public health bills intended to reduce consumption of sugary drinks.Read more
Running scared, Big Soda ramps up spending against soda taxes
With just over a month until Election Day, Big Soda has already topped $10 million in spending against San Francisco’s sugary drink tax. It also ramped up its spending against Oakland’s sugary drink tax to $3.8 million. Why would the American Beverage Association, funded predominantly by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, pour nearly $14 million into these campaigns?
“Bay Area success this fall could tip the national conversation,” as Lawrence Gostin, a global health law professor at Georgetown University, told the Associated Press. "More soda taxes and less soda drinking will make for a healthier country," wrote New York Times Op-Ed Columnist David Leonhardt.
New report: HFA, CSPI ranked among key influencers in the soda tax debate
Data analytics firm Quid has ranked Healthy Food America (HFA) among the top health and social advocacy organizations shaping the soda tax debate. We were named along with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Public Health England, American Heart Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Quid also named our executive director, Jim Krieger, as a key individual along with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.Read more
Latest soda tax campaign developments
With seven weeks until election day, the campaigns for taxes on sugary drinks are kicking into high gear. The November ballots will include these four measures which would levy an excise tax on sugary drinks:
San Francisco’s Measure V (one-cent-per-ounce)
Oakland’s Measure HH (one-cent-per-ounce)
Albany’s Measure O1 (one-cent-per-ounce)
Boulder’s ballot item 2H (two-cents-per ounce)
It’s also been reported that the Cook County Board President is “looking hard” at a new tax on sugary soft drinks to close a $174.3 million budget gap. Cook County includes the city of Chicago, the third largest city in the United States and has a population of nearly 3 million people.Read more
Study: Berkeley’s low-income neighborhoods saw big shift away from sugary drinks after tax
Berkeley’s low-income neighborhoods saw a 21 percent drop in consumption of soda and other sugary drinks in the months after the city introduced a tax of one cent per ounce on such beverages, new research shows.
The findings from the first U.S. city to combat sugar-related health risks and raise revenue with a tax on sugary drinks is encouraging news for the four other cities voting on measures this fall, and for Philadelphia, where a new tax is being implemented.Read more
Why Big Soda’s big money may no longer be enough
Two decades after soda taxes were first proposed, we may finally have reached the point where Big Soda’s big money is no longer enough to keep them at bay.
One of the first highly public calls for taxing sugary drinks and investing the revenue to support education and better nutrition came in a 1994 New York Times Op-Ed by Kelly Brownell. A few years later, the Center for Science in the Public Interest took up the cause with a report, "Liquid Candy: How Sugar Drinks Are Harming America’s Health," at a time when "the prospect of a major U.S. city enacting a soda tax was hardly to be contemplated," as CSPI President Mike Jacobson recalled recently.
We’re now seeing this once novel idea becoming a reality with the recent successes in Mexico, Berkeley and Philadelphia.Read more
How Philly passed a tax on sugary drinks
Today we’ll take a look at what other cities can learn from Philadelphia’s success in passing the first big-city sweetened drinks tax.
“Basically every city is idiosyncratic. Demographics are different. Leadership is different. Economic circumstances are different.” That said, he added, “Sharing the information from one city to the next" is key.
Political path. The path to adopting the tax in Philadelphia was through a budget proposal from the mayor leading to a direct vote by the city council, rather than the ballot measure path used in Berkeley, CA.Read more
Ringing endorsements for Philadelphia’s soda tax
Thursday’s news that Philadelphia City Council approved a tax on sweetened beverages to help pay for universal Pre-K was met with ringing endorsements from around the country. Joining our executive director Jim Krieger in congratulating Mayor Jim Kenney and the City Council were the following notable voices:
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Philadelphia will almost certainly not be the last city to adopt a sugary drinks tax. In fact, the question now is not whether any city will follow suit, but rather how many – and how quickly?Read more
HFA Statement on Philadelphia adoption of soda tax
SEATTLE, WA – The Philadelphia City Council just approved the second and largest tax on sweetened drinks in the U.S., by a vote of 13-4. Dr. Jim Krieger, executive director of Healthy Food America, issued this statement in response:
“The bold action by Philadelphia’s mayor and city council, in the face of $5 million worth of industry pressure, is a win not just for the health and well-being of Philadelphia kids but for communities across the country.Read more
Philadelphia soda tax breaks new ground
It’s not “just Berkeley” anymore. With a City Council vote yesterday, Philadelphia is poised to become the first big city to adopt a tax on sweetened drinks, paving the way for communities across the country to build on the powerful combination of well-targeted investment and people-first policy.
Meeting Wednesday as a “committee of the whole” to consider the city budget, the council endorsed sending the tax measure forward for formal adoption next week. The 1.5-cent per ounce excise tax will provide much-needed revenue for universal pre-kindergarten, rebuilding parks and recreation centers and addressing city budget issues. The tax rate is a half-cent more per ounce than Berkeley’s.Read more