An Illinois lawmaker wants to tax soft drinks as part of an effort to promote healthy living.
The legislation, sponsored by Chicago Democratic Sen. Mattie Hunter, would impose a penny-per-ounce surcharge on sugary drinks that are sold in sealed containers, according to a report (http://bit.ly/1oMu4vj ) by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers.
“Numerous studies have linked excessive consumption of sugary soft drinks to obesity,” Hunter said. “We as a state need to do a better job of educating the public and children in particular about this issue and the health risks.”
Money generated from the levy would be used to pay for a variety of health services and educational efforts.
* Sen. Hunter has no co-sponsors so far. Also, this concept hasn’t gone very far in the past…
In 2011, a report by the Cook County Department of Public Health recommended that legislators impose a tax of 2 cents per ounce on all sugar-sweetened beverages.
Though similar measures have won approval in other states, Illinois lawmakers have been unable to get the tax off the ground.
“You reduce consumption, and you reduce employment,” said Brian Rainville, a spokesman for Teamsters Joint Council 25 in Chicago and northwest Indiana. “If there’s less being made and distributed, there’s fewer people doing those jobs.
“Politicians are always talking about creating middle-class jobs, and these are those jobs. These are the good, middle-class jobs that people want to create.” […]
“This tax adds $2.88 to a (24-pack) case of soda,” said Mark Denzler, vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association. “It’s nearly a 50 percent increase in the cost of it. So folks that are scrambling to buy groceries are going to have it even harder.”