Here’s the proposed statute. The relevant section reads:
“Create Sales Tax on Soft Drinks. Imposes an additional 18 percent rate of sales and compensating use taxes on fruit drinks that contain less than seventy percent of natural fruit juice and non-dietetic soft drinks, sodas and beverages. By increasing the price, it will discourage individuals, especially children and teenagers, from excessive consumption of these beverages. Revenues will be directed for health care initiatives.”
And here’s the American Beverage Association’s predictable response: hurts the middle class, nobody wants it, no science or logic behind it. The New York Times refers to what’s happening as a “spirited debate” (I am a participant).
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. For example, the maker of a carbonated juice drink wrote me to complain that her product, which is 50% juice and taxable, contains under 70 calories per 8-ounces in comparison to non-taxed 100% fruit juice at 110 calories/8 ounces. Obesity is about calories, no? Or is it really about the kinds of products people habitually drink?