Potential soda tax pops up in Texas with House Bill 779

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Sodas, along with other sweetened beverages could soon be taxed in Texas.

State Representative Joe Farias’ House Bill 779, which could increase the tax on sweetened beverages, sweetened beverage powders, or sweetened beverage syrup that contain natural or artificial sweeteners, was referred to committee on February 18.
If passed HB- 779 would tax retailers, which could mean the consumer would bear the weight of the tax. The bill also says the payment of the tax is on the manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler.

One Sam Houston State University Student believes that health is not a matter of the government.

“I feel as though these are lifestyle decisions that should not be directed towards the government,” Brion Robinson, psychology major, said. “If that includes Capris Sun, I don’t want to pay for Capris Sun.”

The tax “is one cent for each ounce or fractional part of an ounce of a sweetened beverage.”

The revenue from the taxes would go to the promotion of children’s health programs.

Another student thinks the bill will keep people from buying these drinks, thus decreasing childhood obesity.
“I feel like if this is going to lessen obesity and childhood obesity, the cost would cause people to buy less of it,” Jasmine Mc Cants, business administration major, said. “Kids wouldn’t drink all of it and wouldn’t gain weight and get sick. I think it is a good thing.”

In 2009 nearly 66.8% of Texas adults and 13.6% of Texas high-school students were reported to be were obese, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

According to the bill, sweetened beverage means a carbonated or non-carbonated nonalcoholic beverage that contains natural or artificial sweeteners such as individual cans of soda.

Sweetened beverage powder means a solid mixture of basic ingredients used to make, mix or compound sweetened beverages, like individual drink mixes.

Sweetened beverage syrup means a liquid mixture of basic ingredients used to make, mix or compound sweetened beverages, such as fountain drinks.

New York is going through a similar situation as Mayor Bloomberg implemented a ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. This ban was supposed to start Monday according to CBS News, but State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling Jr. stopped it.

Tingling wrote the ban would be “arbitrary and capricious” because it applied only to some drinks. He wrote, “…a host of other drinks contain substantially more calories and sugar than (those) targeted… Including alcoholic beverages, lattes, milk shakes, (and) frozen coffees…”

Bloomberg implemented the ban because he has called sugar-sweetened beverages a leading cause of obesity according to CBS news.
If passed the bill will take affect September 1.

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