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Bowing to the beverage industry, California blocks soda taxes



SACRAMENTO, California – A new push by the beverage industry slows the expansion of soda tax in California and elsewhere.

California cities pioneered soda strategies to fight obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, but Legislative and Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday bowed to pressure from beverage companies and reluctantly banned local taxes on soda for the next 12 years.

Similar bans follow in Arizona and Michigan recently. Oregon voters will pass a nationwide ban in November. The American Beverage Association, which represents Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and others, has supported the measures after several cities have passed taxes on sugary drinks in recent years.

California's ban is part of a last-minute maneuver to block a beverage industry-a voting decision that would make it much harder for cities and counties to levy taxes of any kind. The ABA said in a statement that legislation is about making food, including drinks, affordable.

Legislators approved the proposal despite deep restraint.

"This industry targets a nuclear weapon against the government in California and says," If you do not do what we want, we'll pull the trigger and you will not be able to fund basic government services, " said Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, who has a mineral oil. [1

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But local government officials to have scared bound by the prospect of their hands in all future tax increases he supported reluctantly the legislation.

"I has been in politics for a long time and sometimes you have to do what is necessary to avoid a disaster, "said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who raised a local tax hike in An would be in danger if the ballot boxes passed.

The governor said only a handful of municipalities would levy taxes on soda, but the electoral decision would affect all 482 cities in California] "Mayors from countless cities have called for their concerns expressed and the compromise that this bill represents Brown wrote in a memo explaining his decision.

The Californian measure bans new taxes on food including drinks by 2030. but allows four cities in the San Francisco Bay Area to keep soda dues already in the books.

The beverage industry has used aggressive campaigns to repudiate soda taxes and other measures. But some soda tax efforts are now getting better funding. Former New Yorker Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who unsuccessfully tried to limit the size of sugary drinks sold in the city to 16 ounces, has been funding some local efforts.

Philadelphia, Seattle and Boulder, Colorado also have taxes on sugary drinks.

After Brown signed the legislation, the California Business Roundtable pulled back a ballot box that raised the threshold for local government tax increases.

Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association, asked for a meeting with Governor Jerry Brown after the Sacramento Bee reported drink industry lobbyists this month with Brown and his wife Anne Gust Brown at the Governor's Mansion in Sacramento

Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said the governor did not negotiate the deal Dinner was unrelated.

Public health officials said taxes are the most effective tool they are to keep people from drinking sodas, sports drinks, sweetened coffee fees and tea and other sugary drinks

Beverage companies spend billions promoting their products "Health Care Professional Can not Match," said Kristine Madsen, a physician and associate professor of public health at the University of California, Berkeley.

She conducted a study that saw a reduction in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the year after entry into force of the city tax low-income neighborhoods by 20 percent. Grocery sales fell 8 percent, a figure that was not fully offset by higher sales in neighboring cities.


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