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Re: “'Big Soda' and Local Grocers Argue Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

Tonya Love: Thanks for the information. I corrected and clarified the online version of the story. I guess I was confused by the press conference that the American Beverage Association-backed "grocery tax" campaign held last week. They had two speakers, both store owners, who said at the press conference that they would be paying the tax. And the public relations people running the anti-beverage tax campaign have repeatedly implied that grocers themselves will pay the tax. Clearly the text of the ordinance reads that the tax is on distributors who sell beverages to retailers, and the ordinance exempts retail sales.

Charlie Pine: How many distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages also distribute vegetables, milk, eggs, and so on? I was always under the impression that most beverage distributors just distribute beverages. How much of an opportunity do beverage distributors really have to pass this tax onto other goods? And as to this theoretical ability of a grocer to raise prices on milk and diapers to absorb price increases they have to pay for soda from their distributor, professor Auerbach addresses this claim in the article. He doesn't think it's sound.
As to the regressive impact a soda tax would have, yes, you are correct. The poor would pay more. That's true with most taxes on consumer goods.
But your claim regarding tobacco taxes isn't backed up by research. Most studies have found that increasing tobacco taxes leads to reductions in smoking rates (for example, http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/21/2…)

Posted by Darwin BondGraham on 08/24/2016 at 9:37 AM

Re: “'Big Soda' and Local Grocers Argue Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

o for cryin out loud: this has to do with sanctions that will reduce sugar consumption. This. is. a. good. thing. The less sugar you consume--esp HFC--the better you will feel; you will also mysteriously not miss it.
Meanwhile, how bout targeting the real problems behind the 'need' to self-medicate with soda: poverty, homelessness, (mis)education, capitalism...

Posted by Claudine Marie Elizabeth Jones on 08/24/2016 at 9:04 AM

Re: “'Big Soda' and Local Grocers Argue Oakland's Proposed Tax Will Cut Sales — But Proponents Say That's Exactly the Point

Darwin and readers:

The language of the measure says that it is a tax on the distributors (those that deliver a product from one business to another) and not on retailers who then sell the product to consumers. The Distributers can pass the cost on to retailers and studies show that prices of soda does in fact increase, just like the beverage industry fears. American Public Health and National Bureau of economic research has both shown that soda prices have increased in Berkeley. However, what has not been shown is an increase in groceries. The Beverage industry will tell you "it can happen" but can't or won't produce evidence that it actually *has* happened.

A new study on Berkeley's tax shows reduced soda consumption in communities of color by a statistically significant large margin. Only 5% decided to buy sodas in another city.

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/…

The reduction of consumption is due to the tax, as study respondents suggest, but also due to education as Chris Pine suggests. It is the combination that works, why? Because education does not come free. It is paid for by taxation.

Cigarette public health programs and education were paid for by taxation in local jurisdictions which lead to states and the federal govt suing the tobacco industry, which led to changing federal laws restricting sales and requiring warning labels and in settlement, the tobacco industry paying for national education and programs which worked to reduced cigarette smoking.

Just like with cigarettes, there is strong data and public health warnings that excess sugar is harmful to our health. There is also evidence that the largest source of added sugar to our diets is sodas and other sugar sweetened beverages. The American Heart Association has come out with new guidelines on reducing consumption of added sugar, especially for children. CBS News This Morning did a segment and Norah Odonell declared the number one source of added sugar in our diets is from sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/new-guidelin…

The city council isn't the only entity behind this measure, public health professionals across the city and county are. The public health commission did a study back in 2014 on the rates of obesity and how much it is costing the county. In 2013-2014 the county allocated over $650 million to health care costs - $134 million of which spent on obesity related diseases.

http://www.acphd.org/media/351716/health-e…

The public health community have come together with local govts to find a way to pay for education and programs to improve the health of children and families. This tax will help do that.

Posted by Tonya Love on 08/24/2016 at 3:50 AM

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