California Enacts Statewide Soda Tax Ban


California has banned local soda taxes following pressure from beverage companies, following similar bans in Arizona and Michigan, the Associated Press reported.

The move came June 28, when the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown “bowed to pressure from beverage companies” and banned the taxes it pioneered for the next 12 years, AP said. The move comes following similar bans in Arizona and Michigan, and before Oregon’s November vote on a statewide ban. The American Beverage Association has backed these moves after several cities passed taxes on sugary drinks in recent years.

While public health advocates rebuked California’s ban, local government officials “reluctantly backed” the legislation out of fear of “having their hands tied” on all future tax increases, AP said. California’s ban is part of a “last-minute maneuver” to block a beverage-industry-backed ballot measure that would make raising taxes of any kind much harder for cities and counties to accomplish.

Brown said only a “handful of communities” are seeking soda taxation, but the ballot measure would affect all 482 cities in the Golden State, AP noted.