SOURCE: California Center for Public Health Advocacy

California Center for Public Health Advocacy

April 21, 2011 09:00 ET

State Soda Tax Could Be Lifeboat for Fiscally Strapped Counties, According to New Study

DAVIS, CA--(Marketwire - Apr 21, 2011) - For cash-strapped counties struggling to fund vital programs, the state's proposed soda tax (AB 669-Monning) could be a lifeboat, according to a new county-by-county analysis of how that revenue would be returned to local communities.

Based on new estimates by the State Board of Equalization, the proposed penny an ounce tax on sugary beverages would raise an estimated $1.7 billion annually in California. The bulk of those funds -- 85 percent or $1.4 billion -- would be returned to counties proportional to their population to pay for education and children's health programs.

"Local communities will be the direct beneficiaries of a soda tax," explains Dr. Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which conducted the study to better understand how the monies will be allocated. "A soda tax would return about $233 per student in the county to programs aimed at protecting the health and well-being of children. That's a smart investment."

10 Largest CountiesSoda Tax Returned Locally
Los Angeles$370,204,053
San Diego$116,830,489
San Bernardino$93,649,441
Santa Clara$63,450,598
Contra Costa$39,244,343

Local schools will be the biggest winners of a soda tax, with about 60 percent of local funds going to the classroom and an additional 20 percent to help pay for improvements to physical education and provide nutritious school meals. AB 669 also carves out another 20 percent of the local funds to pay for local children's programs like youth sports and afterschool programs.

"We cannot afford to sit back while the childhood obesity crisis overwhelms our healthcare system and shortens our children's lives. The public is already paying for costs associated with unhealthy lifestyles, and a major contributor to this is the increased consumption of sweetened beverages," said AB 669 author, Assemblymember Bill Monning (D-Carmel). "A tax on sugary drinks will help to address this growing problem and can be a valuable tool in a broader public health campaign."

Monning's legislation comes on the heels of a recent statewide Field Corporation Poll showing nearly 60 percent of Californians identifying childhood obesity as a "serious problem" and a majority of the state's voters supporting the concept of a soda tax to fund the fight against childhood obesity. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on Monday, April 25.

"If we're going to get ahead of this crisis, we have to start with our children. This legislation not only funds essential classroom programs, PE and healthier school lunches, but also provides local leaders with the flexibility to fund those children's programs that they expect will have the greatest impact in their communities," says Goldstein.

As a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the health of Californians, CCPHA has played a major role in uncovering the role soda and other sugary drinks play in the obesity epidemic. To learn more, visit the CCPHA website at:

Contact Information

    Dr. Harold Goldstein
    CA Center for Public Health Advocacy
    (530) 400-9106

    Paula Hamilton
    BrownMiller Communications
    (800) 710-9333