Soda Could be Savior of State Schools

By Erika Okano
|  Thursday, Apr 21, 2011  |  Updated 7:21 AM PDT
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Soda Could be Savior of State Schools

Some state officials say taxing sodas could save California's schools.

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A new study released Thursday morning finds charging just a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary sodas and other sweetened drinks would bring in billions for California schools.

The study was conducted by the California Center for Public Heath Advocacy and is based on AB 669, a bill working its way through Sacramento.

The bill suggests charging a penny per ounce tax on sweetened drinks would raise $1.7 billion a year statewide. Eighty-five percent of the revenue generated would go to state schools and local agencies. Fiften percent would go to state-run anti-obesity programs.

It is estimated the average American drinks 50 gallons a year of sugary beverages. That's adds up to about 39 pounds of sugar. Taxing that would bring in about $233 per student to California classrooms. When you break it down to counties in the Bay Area, it means millions.

Here's the county breakdown according to the CCPHA:

  • Alameda: $51.6 million
  • Contra Costa: $39.4 million
  • Marin: $7.6 million
  • Napa: $4.8 million
  • San Francisco: $16.8 million
  • Santa Clara: $63.4 million
  • San Mateo: $22.6 million
  • Solano: $15.4 million
  • Sonoma: $17 million

Many community leaders are pushing for the tax.

"Soda has become the new tobacco," Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia told the Contra Costa Times. "It took us a while to get to the point where we linked the negative health implications of tobacco on public health, and we know that the taxes on cigarettes are working to reduce smoking."

In order for AB 669 it needs four GOP votes in Sacramento. If that does not happen, proponents could put it on a state ballot.

A state legislative committee will look at AB 669 on Monday.

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