Thursday, November 3, 2011
Pop Tax Proposal Bubbles Up Again
If every man, woman and child in Illinois were to drink 18 ounces of sugary beverages each day, state coffers could get an additional $1.4 billion. It might even save money now spent treating weight-related health problems.
Those were the conclusions of a new study by the Cook County Department of Public Health said Illinoisans are set to drink 6.6 billion, 12-ounce cans of soda, sports drinks and other sugary beverages in 2011. That could mean big bucks for the state if lawmakers were to enact a 2-cents per ounce tax. The study also suggested that the state and private employers would save at least $200 million in health-care costs by imposing the tax.
Elissa Bassler, director of the Illinois Public Health Association, or IPHA, said any revenue generated by the tax should be put into obesity prevention and reduction programs, instead of being absorbed in the state's "budgetary black hole."
State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, said lawmakers are unlikely to have a taste for tax hikes, though, since the state increased individual income taxes by 67 percent last year. “I just don’t see, especially in this (political) climate, there being a lot of support for that,” Syverson said. Syverson serves on the state Senate Public Health Committee, the same committee where a similar soda-tax plan stalled during the Legislature’s spring session.
Tim Bramlet, director of the Illinois Beverage Association said linking sugary drinks to obesity is a bit of a fallacy. “We don’t view these products as unhealthy … When consumed responsibly, these products are harmless." He suggested excluding soda and other sugary drinks from the list of what people can purchase with food stamps from the state. It’s an idea state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Chicago, tried to get through the General Assembly this spring. The move failed.
You can read Andrew's full report at: http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/7112/pop-tax-proposal-on-sugary-drinks-bubbles-up-again-in-il/