Sugar, rum, and tobacco are commodities which are nowhere necessaries of life, which are become objects of almost universal consumption, and which are therefore extremely proper subjects of taxation.
— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776
What it is:
A soda tax is a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and those sweetened with caloric sweeteners.
To decrease the consumption of sugary beverages and to generate revenue for obesity-related medical costs.
(The following is far from being an exhaustive list of all who are for and against the tax.)
Who is for it:
Most recently, California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez introduced his soda tax bill for California.
California Center for Public Health Advocacy helped Florez draft the bill.
The soda tax was first introduced in 1994 by Kelly D. Brownell, PhD., Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale.
The current Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas R. Frieden, and the above-mentioned Brownell argue for the taxation of sugary beverages in this 2009 New England Journal of Medicine article.
New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Dr. David A. Kessler, author of my personal favorite, The end of overeating.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest
Without coming right out and saying it, Dr. Nestle implies her interest in the tax with several related posts.
President Obama: "It's an idea that we should be exploring," the President said. "There's no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda. And every study that's been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else. Obviously there is resistance on Capitol Hill to those kinds of sin taxes," he continued. "Legislators from certain states that produce sugar or corn syrup are sensitive to anything that might reduce demand for those products. And look, people's attitude is that they don't necessarily want Big Brother telling them what to eat or drink, and I understand that. It is true, though, that if you wanted to make a big impact on people's health in this country, reducing things like soda consumption would be helpful." — President Barack Obama to Men’s Health
Who is against it:
Beverage companies, and the American Beverage Association (ABA).
The ABA has this to say about the tax, "Families are still barely making it from paycheck to paycheck. Adding to their burden with a tax on their groceries should be the last way to tackle the state's budget problems." I think they need a heftier argument. Since when have sugary beverages become a staple of Americans' groceries? They go on to say, "...this tax will threaten thousands of well-paying, New York jobs in the beverage and related industries." Lack of jobs in New York? I can only hope that there would be a lack of jobs in the sugary beverage industry and other junk food industries!
Let's see, who has our best interest in mind: doctors, professors, and directors of major health agencies......or beverage companies?
I can't resist sharing this video: