California’s Proposed Soda Tax Is for Your Own Good and Totally Not a Money Grab

Worse than opium densCredit: cobalt123 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SAWhen two cities in California defeated a proposed tax on sugary drinks last November, I pointed out the foolishness of the effort beyond just the Nanny State manipulation. If passed, it would drive consumers to other nearby cities and ultimately end up hurting small businesses and grocery retail employees the most, people who tend to fall on the poor end of the economic spectrum.

So, obviously, California’s solution for such a problem would be to try to enact the tax statewide. A Senate bill by Bill Monning (D-Monterey) would add a tax of one cent for every ounce for any sweetened drink of more than 25 calories. The legislation passed a state Senate committee earlier this week.

In order to market this exorbitant tax, which, again, will affect the poor the most, Monning is also proposing a Children’s Health Promotion Fund and promising the taxes collected will go to child obesity prevention efforts and totally not to close the funding gap on state employee pensions or to reduce the state’s deficit cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-die. Pay no attention to that last tax increase everyone was told would go to halt school cutbacks but might actually end up going to educators’ retirement funds instead. And pay no attention to the recent funding that was supposed to provide healthier lunches for poor students in public schools that was misappropriated and spent on other things while the kids were fed crap. Despite California’s lengthy history of money not going where Sacramento says the money is supposed to go, this will be totally different. That proponents are already estimating $2.6 billion in revenue for the first year is just to tell us how much good they can do with it.

Read the full Senate bill here.

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  • Scarcity||

    Pay no attention to that last tax increase everyone was told would go to halt school cutbacks but might actually end up going to educators’ retirement funds instead. And pay no attention to the recent funding that was supposed to provide healthier lunches for poor students in public schools that was misappropriated and spent on other things while the kids were fed crap. Despite California’s lengthy history of money not going where Sacramento says the money is supposed to go, this will be totally different.

    All money spent by or for teachers or any other person employed by the state in a capacity related to schools is clearly for the children.

    I grow weary of reason's hatred of the children.

  • Aresen||

    We don't hate children.

    They are actually delicious.

    Besides, who else can crawl through those tiny tunnels in the mines?

  • ||

    I don't know; I might hate the children.

    I mean, what have they done for me lately?

  • $park¥||

    I tell you what, mine better be washing the dishes when they get home from school. I didn't have kids so I would have to keep doing housework.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    who polishes your monocles?

  • Doctor Whom||

    I use disposable monocles made out of non-recyclable, non-biodegradable materials.

  • Brett L||

    We long ago determined that "polishing the monocle" is code for self-pleasure, but if you like small hands for tug jobs because it makes yo feel better, that's totally up to you.

  • ||

    This makes a good many past threads unintentionally hilarious. Thank you Brett.

  • Brett L||

    I do what I can.

  • juris imprudent||

    small hands for tug jobs SFW

  • Sam Grove||

    Politicos do market research before proposing bond issues. I have received calls from researchers asking what phrasing will most likely persuade me to support the proposed bond.

    How about if it's for:

    the children?
    police and firefighters?
    road maintenance?
    libraries?

    They just want the money.

  • ||

    So that would add a whopping 67 cents to a two-liter bottle of Coke, or $1.44 to a twelve-pack. For the store brands, that would almost double the price.

    The amount of economic fail involved in this type of thought process boggles the mind. You are supposedly both trying to discourage an activity and then making an ostensibly crucial government program dependent on funding from said activity. Cigarette tax redux.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Never underestimate the power of doublethink.

  • juris imprudent||

    The amount of economic fail involved in this type of thought process boggles the mind.

    You don't follow CA politics on a regular basis, do you?

  • Pro Libertate||

    With all of the federal problems, people forget the states are hurtin' for money, man. Look for more and more stuff like this, including, of course, sales tax for on-line and catalog retailers without actual, you know, nexus.

  • John Thacker||

    Although on the bright side, it could lead to legalized online gambling, and maybe even in some places help with legalized pot (if the feds would get out of the way.)

  • Brett L||

    people forget the states are hurtin' for money

    SOME states are hurting for money. FL has so much we're just giving away an extra $1000/year to everyone who happens to be a state employee. And not running a deficit or tapping the rainy day fund.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, we're a pretty wealthy state and not as fiscally insane as many other large states. Tourism, agriculture, pythons--we have it all.

  • Aresen||

    And you can feed the seniors to the pythons when the state medicaid funds run out. (It's a twofer.)

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Aren't the pythons also "agriculture"? I mean, at least the ones served on a stick, right?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Good point. I have a vested interest, of course.

  • InlineSkate||

    Maybe we should start calling out these taxes for what they are. A tax on the poor.

    Why do you politicians hate poor people?

  • Pro Libertate||

    They don't hate poor people. They love them. That's why they want to make more.

  • juris imprudent||

    And once poor you become reliant on the state under progressive leadership. Positive feedback loop.

  • ||

    So when cancer rates jump after people switch to sugar-substituted drinks, then what?

    Maybe they should just outlaw everything but tap water in reusable bottles.

  • Sheriff Bart||

    This will give a whole new meaning to "coke smuggling"...

  • Auric Demonocles||

    "Sir, can you let me inspect the inside of this nalgene?"

  • Sheriff Bart||

    I'm a gonna set up a whole chain of stores on the NV-CA border called "Sugary Drinkzzz, Beyotches"...

  • ||

    Make sure there's one at the first stop on the NV end of the LA-LV bullet train.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Flights will announce "we have now left California airspace" and open up the soda like they did with alcohol in Argo.

  • ||

    If I get a Soda Stream does that make me a soda tax prepper?

  • Pro Libertate||

    It makes you a moonshiner.

  • ||

    Wouldn't be the first time. My dorm had specific rules about bringing alcohol in. I brought in base ingredients and a 5 gallon sparklets bottle instead. I did not technically bring alcohol into the dorm, although I'm sure they still would've expelled me had I been caught.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Better get the choppers on him.

  • ||

  • ||

    If your "sweetened drink" is sweetened with aspartame, sucralose, or whatever, is it still taxed?

    If yes, WHY DO YOU HATE SUGARFREE?!?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Because they are human.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    CA really needs a part time legislature. I think meeting every leap year would work out fine.

  • ||

    No, CA needs to just go full Belgian and disband the government.

  • Aresen||

    If the Belgians had done it as part of a plan, I'd be applauding, but it is actually just a case of bandits being unable to decide on the division of the spoils.

  • PapayaSF||

    I realize this is probably rhetorical, but is there any evidence at all that a "Children’s Health Promotion Fund" and other "child obesity prevention efforts" actually do what they are supposed to do?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    IF IT SAVES ONE POUND ON ONE CHILD IT MUST BE DONE!!!11!11!

  • Mr. Soul||

    it's to the point where every dingbat idea these yahoos come up with is exactly the opposite of its title. I await ALL CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND.

  • maureen_aba||

    There is no evidence to support Monning’s claim that taxing soft drinks will lower obesity. In fact, a Yale School of Public Health study showed just the opposite. (http://www.letsclearitup.org/topic-tags/taxes/). The only thing a proposal like this will accomplish is it will set a troublesome precedent. If we allow the government to tax a common, everyday item like soft drinks, they will have an excuse to start looking around for more common, everyday items to tax.

  • PapayaSF||

    You mean like jobs, businesses, income, real estate, cars, gasoline, alcohol, tobacco, airline tickets, and hotel rooms?

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