CHICAGO -- Six months after the governing board of Cook County, Ill., narrowly approved a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on carbonated soft drinks and other beverages, state officials in Illinois are considering their own sugar-sweetened-beverage tax.
Here's a look at those Illinois initiatives, as well as the latest on soda-tax efforts in Seattle and Santa Fe, N.M. ...
1. Cook County, Ill.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in mid-November cast the deciding vote to break a tie among county commissioners, ensuring approval of the penny-an-ounce pop tax she proposed just a month earlier.
Officials are counting on the $224 million a year the beverage tax is expected to bring in to balance the county books for a while, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
The tax will go into effect July 1. It will apply to all sugar- and artificially sweetened drinks, including carbonated soft drinks (CSDs), sports drinks, lemonade and iced tea, adding 72 cents to the cost of a six-pack of soda or 68 cents for a 2-liter bottle. The tax also will be imposed on fountain drinks at a penny an ounce, bringing the tax on a 7-Eleven 32-ounce Big Gulp to 32 cents.
State of Illinois officials are eyeing their own penny-per-ounce state tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to raise $561 million a year in new revenue for the state, while also saving millions in healthcare costs associated with obesity and diabetes, according to a new study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and reported in the Tribune.
Claudia Rodriguez, executive director of the Illinois Beverage Association, an industry-backed group opposed to sweetened beverage taxes, said the study's projections on public-health impact and revenue are overstated.
"These models consistently conflict with real-world results," Rodriguez said.
A proposal to tax sugary drinks in Illinois was included in a Senate budget plan earlier this year but was stripped out amid opposition from business groups. While the effort has stalled, it's possible the legislation could be revived as lawmakers turn their focus to the ongoing budget impasse over the next several weeks, the Tribune reported.
3. Santa Fe, N.M.
Voters in New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe rejected a tax increase on sweetened beverages in a special election on the issue held April 2.
The tax failed with 11,533 votes against and only 8,382 votes in favor, according to an Associated Press report.
The 2-cents-per-ounce proposal would have added 24 cents to the price of a 12-ounce soda, $1.35 to a 2-liter bottle and $2.88 to a 12-pack. The goal of the tax was to raise money to fund preschool in the city while also improving public health by discouraging the heavy consumption of sugar.
The American Beverage Association funneled more than $1.3 million from the soft-drink industry into efforts to defeat the tax, according to the AP report. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who tried unsuccessfully as mayor to ban large sodas, reportedly contributed $1.1 million to the pro-tax political action committee Pre-K for Santa Fe.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray recently expanded his proposed soda tax for the city.
Murray originally proposed the soda tax in February, suggesting distributors of sugary drinks pay 2 cents per ounce.
This month, Murray altered the proposal to include diet drinks because affluent white people tend to consume them more, according to a Heat Street report. The proposal is expected to raise $16 million a year to fund education for minorities.