The city currently has a sales tax on soda of eight percent.
A member of the D.C. City Council wants to fix health inequities in the District of Columbia by changing the current soda tax. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau has proposed repealing the eight percent sales tax on sugary soda and replacing it with a 1.5 cent per ounce excise tax. For instance, instead of paying 18 cents on a 20-ounce bottle of soda that costs $2.29, the new tax would cost 30 cents. The bill is called the Nutrition Equity Amendment Act of 2021 and would help fund programs to provide access to healthier food options and provide community-based health education.
The councilmember is proposing a tax based on the ounces consumed to encourage people to drink less of the sugary sodas and drinks that can lead to chronic disease.
"Sugary drinks represent a real health risk to children. On average, children in the U.S. consume more than 30 gallons of sugary drinks every year, and evidence shows that the beverage industry targets communities of color, with Black children and teens more than twice as likely to see TV ads for sugary drinks than their white peers," said Nadeau. "Knowing that the consumption of sugary drinks is directly linked to major health risks and that the beverage industry is targeting their ads at communities of color, we have to intervene and counter that impact."
The bill would provide grants for D.C. organizations to provide cooking and nutrition classes, improve food options in shelters and transitional housing, nutrition education for elementary students, and preventing diet-related diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Several cities around the country have instituted soda taxes including Boulder, Philadelphia, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Philadelphia raises a whopping $75 million in revenue from its soda tax each year. The bill before the council is expected to be passed in the current session.
What is your favorite soda? What is your take on this new bill? Share your thoughts in the comments.