Soda Tax Proposal Falls Flat in Illinois



A little good news on the sin tax front for a change: A proposed "soda tax" in Illinois was rejected today, with members of the House Revenue and Finance Committee voting 7-2 against it.

The one penny per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, syrups, and powders would have added an additional $2.88 in cost to each case and 67 cents to each two-liter bottle of soda sold in Illinois. Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), who chairs the revenue committee, called it a "middle-class regressive tax" that "really hurts working people."

Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), who sponsored the "Healthy Eating, Active Living Act," championed it with all of the usual platitudes: It would help fight the obesity epidemic, encourage healthy living, cut health care costs, prop up Medicaid, etc.

A study published in the journal Preventive Medicine in March found overall support for sugar-sweetened beverage taxes in the U.S. to be low, with only 22 percent of adults in favor. Democrats, millennials, and people with generally negative views of soda companies were more likely to support soda taxes.