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
Victory at hand in Philadelphia!
A soda tax for Philadelphia cleared a major hurdle Wednesday when the City Council’s budget committee – made up of all council members – voted to send a 1.5-cent per ounce tax on sweetened drinks to regular council meeting for formal adoption.
Dr. Jim Krieger, executive director of Healthy Food America, issued this statement in response:
“Council members stood up to more than $4 million worth of beverage industry pressure to do the right thing for the long-term health and life chances of Philadelphia kids.Read more
Reclaiming revenue from sugary drinks is an idea whose time has come
When Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney explained to New York Times columnist Mark Bittman why he is looking to a sugary drinks tax for funding to lift kids out of poverty, he minced no words:
“We are going to a source where there is substantial profit, and one that has the ability to take that hit and not skip a beat. They sell more of their product in poor communities than elsewhere, and for generations none of that profit was passed on to those communities. There is no downside to this other than that the three major soda companies may make a little less money.”Read more
Philly soda tax would prevent thousands of cases of obesity, extend lives, avert millions in health costs over 10 years, Harvard model projects
Philadelphia’s proposed tax on sugary drinks would reduce consumption of health-harming beverages enough to prevent thousands of cases of obesity, extend lives and avert millions in healthcare costs over 10 years, researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health have concluded.
With funding from Healthy Food America, researchers for Harvard’s CHOICES project localized their national, peer reviewed model to examine the potential health impact of Philadelphia’s proposed sugary drink tax. They project that the tax of 3 cents per ounce would persuade regular consumers of sugary drinks to lower their intake. As a result, the model projects that 36,000 fewer people would be obese at the end of 2025 than without the tax. When the tax reaches its full effect over the next decade, as many as 2,280 cases of diabetes a year could be prevented. The prevented cases of obesity will result in lower estimated 10-year health care costs, with projected savings averaging $200 million.*Read more