California proposal to tax soda pushed to next year |

California proposal to tax soda pushed to next year

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2016, file photo, soft drink and soda bottles are displayed in a refrigerator at El Ahorro market in San Francisco. Efforts to tax sugary drinks and limit how much soda can be sold in a single cup have stalled in the California Legislature. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Lawmakers won’t vote on a soda tax or limit how much can be sold in a single cup this year, marking the latest California victory for the beverage industry.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom on Monday delayed his soda tax bill until next year, saying it didn’t have enough support to pass.

New taxes need support from two-thirds of lawmakers. Earlier, Assemblyman David Chiu pulled his bill to limit soda sales to cups of 16 ounces in restaurants and convenience stores. Both were efforts to crack down on the soda industry and promote public health.

The delay “gives us the time to build the support we need to get to a floor vote,” Bloom said. “This particular measure is opposed by a very powerful contingent of business interests and they’re pouring everything they have into the fight.”

The proposals came after California lawmakers last year banned local governments from adopting soda taxes through 2030 under pressure from the American Beverage Association and business groups.

The beverage coalition had threatened a ballot measure that would make it harder to raise local taxes and fees of any kind, a move some lawmakers said amounted to hostage-taking to get the desired ban on local soda taxes.

The association cheered Bloom’s delay, saying a tax would impose a burden on low-income consumers.

“We are glad the legislature delayed action because California’s voters oppose a beverage tax which would be an unfair burden on working families, neighborhood businesses and employees already struggling with the state’s high cost of living,” spokesman Steven Maviglio said in an emailed statement.

Information on how much money the beverage industry has spent in the first part of 2019 won’t be available until April 30. But the American Beverage Association spent $1.1 million lobbying the Legislature in the last two-year session, according to filings with the secretary of state.

The California Medical Association, another powerful interest group in the Capitol, backs the soda tax.

Bills to put safety warnings on sugary drinks and ban soda discount coupons are still before the Legislature.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User