Illinois Soda Tax Campaign Support Materials
From Tom Cullen and IAMC:
Illinois Soda Tax Campaign Support Materials
Here is a script to be used when calling to oppose the tax;
“Hello, this is [Name]. I’m a [job title] with [company name or organization]. I have been working at the [facility] in [location] for [#] years. I live and am registered to vote in your district.
It has come to my attention two members of the General Assembly have introduced legislation to increase taxes on soda in the state. As a beverage industry employee, I am worried this legislation could jeopardize my job and the jobs of thousands of other [company name] employees in Illinois.
I ask you to vote no on the soda tax and support your constituents who work hard for the beverage industry.
Please consider the impact this tax would have on my company and by extension—my family,
SODA TAX LEGISLATION TALKING POINTS
Two Illinois lawmakers have proposed imposing a tax of a penny per ounce on all sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Illinois.
Distributors of beverages in Illinois would also have to obtain a permit to sell sugar-sweetened beverages and report on the quantity sold. The tax affects beverages like soda, juice drinks, sports drinks, and teas. And once again, an overwhelming majority of our residents and businesses are against the idea.
A new beverage tax would negatively impact businesses across Illinois. This tax is projected to bring in $600 million in revenue for the state. But where is this revenue coming from? It’s being siphoned directly from the local economy. Lawmakers will improve health by taking money from businesses and individuals?
Members of the General Assembly are working to fill a more than $6 billion budget deficit. Voting for a tax on soda is an easier vote than raising taxes on everyone. This tax would jeopardize many good-paying jobs in the beverage industry and thousands more in retail stores and restaurants throughout our state.
Adding a beverage tax on top of the other rising costs of living in Illinois will put at risk millions of dollars in economic activity that the beverage industry in Illinois currently supports. With an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent, we can’t afford to lose these or other good-paying jobs. This regressive tax places an additional burden on low and middle income families in Illinois.
According to the USDA, all sugar-sweetened beverages account for only a small portion – 6 percent – of calories in the average diet. Yet these lawmakers are pitching this tax as a way to end obesity. We all know that getting serious about obesity starts with education – not laws and regulation. Lawmakers shouldn’t be working to advance legislation that adds up to a higher tax burden for local Illinois businesses and consumers.
The beverage industry has proven that partnerships are an effective and more productive way to achieve the goals of the soda tax without burdening Illinois residents and families.
Health and Wellness
Calories in American diets from added sugars in soda have declined 39% since 2000. Calories from soda and sugar-sweetened beverages make up only 6% of the average American diet. Senator Hunter has been quoted in the past saying: “My goal with this legislation is to increase awareness, improve public health and promote healthy living alternatives in an effort to save lives and money.”
There are many better ways to increase awareness and promote healthy living alternatives that don’t involve taxes. Encouraging physical education, making healthier foods available and boosting health education are all more effective options. Unfortunately, elected officials seem to always reach for the taxpayers’ pocket.
The beverage industry makes a wide variety of beverages that can help contribute to good health, such as bottled waters, 100 percent juice, sports drinks, ready-to-drink teas and no- and low-calorie soft drinks.
From 1998 to 2008, beverage calories in the marketplace have declined by 21 percent driven largely by consumer interest in the growing range of zero-calorie, low-calorie, reduced-calorie and portion-controlled beverage choices offered by the beverage industry.
The Balance Calories Initiative is the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to help fight obesity. Working with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, America’s leading beverage companies have set a goal to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025.
In Our Schools
As a result of proactive industry efforts to provide more beverage choices for students, students are now choosing nutritious and lower-calorie beverages. The beverage mix in schools continues to shift to waters, portion-controlled sports drinks, diet drinks and 100 percent juices.
The ABA removed full calorie sodas from schools across the nation with the national School Beverage Guidelines and was among the first to sign on to the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative launched by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. ABA members have reduced beverage calories shipped to schools by 90 percent since 2004 and shipments of full-calorie soft drinks have declined by 97 percent.
Kids are drinking fewer full-calorie soft drinks and increasing their consumption of other beverage choices. Research shows full-calorie soft drink consumption has decreased 24 percent in schools (2002-2004) while sales of bottled waters, sports drinks, 100 percent juices and diet drinks rose 36 percent.
Between 2004 and 2010, advertising to children for soft drinks decreased by 96 percent, while advertising increased 199 percent for fruit and vegetable juices. ABA members are committed to only advertising juice, water and milk-based drinks to audiences comprised of children predominantly under the age of 12.
Clear on Calories
Calorie information will be readily available to consumers before they purchase a product. The first step in the program was placing a calorie label on the front of cans, bottles and packages.
This initiative will further enhance consumer access to information about caloric content, enabling consumers to make the choices that are best for them at any given time.
Calories Count Vending Program
The Calories Count initiative makes calorie information readily available to consumers before they purchase a product by placing a calorie label on the front of cans, bottles and packages. This program launched in 2013 in city buildings in Chicago and San Antonio to remind consumers that calories count when making beverage choices.
The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo worked with government leaders, food service operators, vending companies and other customers to:
Increase availability of lower-calorie beverages in vending machines;
Display a “Calories Count” vending snipe on the front of beverage vending machines reminding consumers to consider calories in their beverage choices with messages such as “Check then Choose” and “Try a Low-Calorie Beverage” and; Add calorie labels to the selection buttons on beverage vending machines to show calorie counts per beverage container.
Beverage Industry Impact
The non-alcoholic beverage industry is deeply committed to Illinois and its economy. There are more than 55 soft drink bottling plants and distribution facilities located throughout Illinois.
More than 100,000 Illinois residents are directly and indirectly employed by the beverage industry. These jobs are real and they account for more than $6 billion in Illinois wages. The industry is also responsible for $21.1 billion in economic impact annually in Illinois. And, more than $41 million has been made in charitable donations from the industry and its employees to date.
Taxes throughout the Country
Colorado: In November 2013, a tax on sweetened beverages was defeated 68% to 32% by voters.
California: Voters in two cities overwhelmingly defeated ballot measures to tax sweetened beverages in November 2012.
Maine: In 2008, the state legislature passed a soft drink tax. That same year, voters overturned the law 65% to 35%.
Washington: In 2010, the state legislature passed a soft drink tax. That same year, voters overturned the law 60% to 40%.
Philadelphia: The mayor proposed a soft drink tax in 2010 and 2011, but it failed to pass the city council.
New York: In 2009 and 2010, the governor proposed a soft drink tax, but it did not make it through the legislative process.
Nationally, 62% of voters oppose taxing soft drinks. (Source: Feb 2012 Harris Interactive/Health Day Poll).