Recognizing that added sugars contribute to a diet that is energy dense, nutrient poor, and increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, dental carries, obesity related cancers, and obesity, we proposed a bill earlier in the legislative session, that if passed, would impose a penny per once excise tax on sugary drinks.
The bill had its public hearing before the Finance committee on April 11th. Close to twenty organizations and individuals turned out to testify in favor of the bill, including our own advocate, Dr. David Katz, from the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.
Sugary drink taxes work. It has been estimated that such a tax would result in a decrease of sugary drink consumption by 8-10%. As of April 18, 2017, data from Berkeley, CA which passed their tax in 2014 has shown this to be accurate. There, the consumption of sugary drinks has fallen by 9.6%, while untaxed beverages such as water has increased by 3.5%. Philadelphia, PA passed their sugary drink tax in 2016, and since then, a host of other municipalities have as well, including San Francisco, CA; Oakland, CA; Albany, CA; Boulder, CO, and; Cook County, IL. Should we be successful in passing our sugary drink tax here in CT, we would become the first state to do so.
The UCONN Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity estimates that such a tax would gain $145.2M in revenue annually. What this means to a state such as ours that is experiencing an almost $2B deficit is that this revenue could save Care 4 Kids, an important state program that provides affordable child care for low to moderate income families, as well as have a positive health impact on the state at the same time.
To learn more about sugary drink taxes, I urge you to read an article that Dr. Katz wrote just last week for the Huffington Post on the CT sugary drink tax bill, which you can access here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/connecticut-considers-a-soda-tax_us_58ef94b1e4b0156697224cf2.