Shared by Mark Denzler & The Herald Review
Soda tax finds its way to budget table, again
May 29, 2015 5:15 am JORDAN MADDOX H&R Springfield Bureau Writer
SPRINGFIELD – The state’s financial woes have supporters of adding a one-cent per ounce tax on sugary beverages hopeful the proposal may be included in the looming debate over raising taxes.
State Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago, said her soda tax legislation, known as the HEAL act, Healthy Eating Active Living, is something she pushes for every day because of the benefits it would create for everyone.
“The leadership has been looking at it and I’m hopeful that when they consider revenue they consider that piece of legislation,” she said. “It can not only generate revenues but it can also help educate and make people aware of sugary drinks and the impact they have, and just overall health. We’ve got a lot of positive feedback from it.”
A budget is being pushed through the General Assembly that is at least $3 billion short of the spending.
The soda tax would be put on the distributors who sell packaged sugar-sweetened beverages, syrups or powders in Illinois. The tax would be at a rate of one-cent per ounce of the sugar-sweetened beverages. This includes sodas, sweetened teas, sports drinks and energy drinks.
The tax is predicted to create $300 million for Medicaid and $300 million for community health programs.
State Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, who is sponsoring the plan in the House, said there is no certainty her measure will go anywhere even though a poll commissioned by the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity and conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, a national public opinion poll, shows Illinoisans want it.
“From my reading of the poll it was done in a very fair manner. They were told both the opposition’s position as well as the supporter’s position and still 58 percent, even when being told the opposition’s story, still supported a tax on sugary sweetened beverages,” Gabel said.
The poll states 70 percent in Chicago, 62 percent downstate and 59 percent in the collar counties support the tax and the impacts it could make on Illinoisans health, including funding for walking and biking trails.
“The timing of this information is ideal,” said Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in a prepared statement. “As decision makers face tough fiscal decisions, this poll shows support for a revenue proposal that can be considered a win-win for Illinois. The HEAL Act will help prevent Medicaid cuts while also providing important opportunities for economically disadvantaged people to live healthier lives.”
On Thursday, the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics reported more than 140 Illinois physicians within the group support the tax.
“The contribution of sugary drinks to obesity in children is now clearly established,” said Goutham Rao of ICAAP’s Health Care Advisory Group on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in a prepared statement.
The legislation is Senate Bill 1584 and House Bill 2667.
Other tax articles in the news:
California Automatic Vending Council Testifies In Sacramento On Sales Tax Equity Bill
California Assembly Committee Nixes Another Proposed Tax On Soda – See more at: http://vendingtimes.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=737C17AB0E09499F90660557C93983AD&nm=Articles&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=A891B4309C11448BB89B93F6D0212575#sthash.XvqlAma0.dpuf
Berkeley (CA) Soda Tax Reportedly Brings In $116,000 In First Month