Sacramento Councilmember Kevin McCarty publicly shared his idea to tax soft drinks. He would like to see tax proceeds go to fund city recreational programs in an effort to combat childhood obesity. The proposed tax is part of package which includes removing soft drinks from city facility vending machines and creating community gardens in schools. Details of the proposals have not been developed according to McCarty.
Similar efforts have been tried in New York, San Francisco, and other major jurisdictions throughout the country but have failed. Proposals to tax or fee just one product, in this case soft drinks, claiming it is the primary cause of a greater concern, like obesity, is a difficult policy and political sell.
McCarty is hopeful using the proceeds for a recreation programs, not general fund purposes, will help pass his proposal. However, Proposition 26, which passed last election, limits the ability to implement taxes or fees without a 2/3 vote of the public. It is very likely this idea would trigger Prop. 26 need a vote of the people. Given the policy, legal, and political challenges for a soft drink tax McCarty will have a difficult time convincing his colleagues to support the measure.
CGA is already partnering with industry and local business organizations to lobby against the soda tax.