Legislators left Montpelier for their March break with interest hanging on the sugary drink tax. The House Health Care Committee took testimony on the tax as a possible source of revenue for health care reform measures and will likely vote on the tax when they return on March 10th. Read more here. http://digital.vpr.net/post/house-committee-eyes-soda-tax-health-care-reforms
The House Ways and Means Committee will also focus on the tax with a hearing slated for March 11th. Lawmakers are looking at closing a $112 million budget gap and with a list of $29 million in potential budget cuts presented recently, some lawmakers are also interested in new sources of revenue.
The American Heart Association and the Alliance for a Healthier Vermont want to implement a 2 cent per ounce excise tax on sugary drinks to reduce consumption of sugary drinks and use a portion of the revenue for obesity prevention efforts and greater access to health care for underserved Vermonters.
A new poll released by VTDigger shows Vermonters agree. 57% said they would support a tax on sugary drinks to fund health care for low income Vermonters. Editors from newspapers across Vermont also agree it makes sense. The St Albans Messenger, Addison Independent, Rutland Herald, Times Argus, Brattleboro Reformer and County Courier have all written editorials urging lawmakers to pass the tax this session. Check out the following editorial! http://www.reformer.com/opinion/ci_27585726/our-opinion-sugary-drinks-tax-heck-out-them
With both obesity rates and health care costs climbing, the sugary drink tax should be a priority for Vermont lawmakers.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health notes in its State of Obesity report for Vermont that Vermont’s current 38,031 cases of heart disease could sky-rocket to 190,617 by 2030 if we continue on our current trend. A two cent tax on sugary drinks and a commitment to prevention makes more sense to us.
Urge Vermont lawmakers to support prevention efforts such as this to reduce chronic diseases in Vermont. Click on the following to take action:
And help us spread the word by “liking” the Alliance for a Healthier Vermont Facebook page and sharing the benefits about a sugary drink tax on your social media today!