San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

Leading Health Organizations Announced Filing Of Statewide Soda Tax Measure For 2020

On July 2, 2018, a ballot measure to protect public health through a state soda tax was filed for the 2020 ballot by two ofsoda tax California’s leading health care provider organizations – the California Medical Association (CMA), representing 43,000 California physicians, and the California Dental Association (CDA), representing 27,000 California dentists. 

This announcement comes four days after the multibillion-dollar soda industry held the state of California hostage with a dangerous ballot threat that jeopardized the fiscal outlook of local governments, forcing the state to pre-empt local authority and pass an unprecedented 12-year moratorium on any local soda tax.

This 2020 ballot initiative would implement a statewide tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, providing at least $1.7 billion in revenue for critical health programs and constitutionally preserving the ability of California’s local communities to make their own decisions regarding future soda taxes.   

Dustin Corcoran, CMA chief executive officer, and Carrie Gordon, CDA chief strategy officer, issued the following statement:      

“In the face of growing public support for local health taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, the billion-dollar global soda industry last week put corporate profits ahead of public health and forced an ultimatum upon the leadership of California’s state government.

“Big Soda may have won a cynical short-term victory but, for the sake of our children’s health, we cannot and will not allow them to undermine California’s long-term commitment to health care and disease prevention.         

“There is overwhelming evidence of the link between obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and heart disease and the consumption of sugary-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas and sports drinks.

“Around the world and in local communities, reasonable soda taxes have been proven effective in dramatically reducing consumption of sugary drinks and improving the public health, especially among children. 

“California’s health care provider community is united behind ensuring that California voters have the opportunity to protect our children’s well-being – not the profit margins of soda conglomerates.”

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