November 25, 2017

More Cities Approve Soda Tax for November Ballot- Is It a Good Idea?

By Julie Samrick

At first I thought the soda tax controversy in New York City was ridiculous.  Uncle Sam shouldn’t have a say in how much soda, whether it be normal or super sized, any of us choose to drink. Right? But after more thinking, soda is the taxpayers’ business if it’s the leading cause of obesity in America, which in turn is to blame for an influx of diseases like cancer and Type 2 diabetes wreaking havoc on our medical system.  Is it really any different than taxing cigarettes?


Read the following press release and let me know what you think. Is this a fair attempt to curb the war on obesity or is it too much government involvement?


This week the City of El Monte’s City Council unanimously voted to put a soda tax measure on the November ballot.


With this vote, El Monte becomes the second city in California, after Richmond, to propose taxing soda and other sugary drinks as a way to counter their unprecedented childhood obesity crisis. El Monte has the ninth highest rate of childhood overweight and obesity out of 250 cities in California, according to a recent study released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA).


Overweight and obesity affect more than half (50.2 percent) of the children in the city of El Monte.


Dr. Harold Goldstein, executive director of CCPHA says that the rate is shocking and significantly higher than the overall state rate of childhood obesity of 38 percent. As a consequence California is seeing a dramatic rise in chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which cost the state an estimated $41 billion a year.


“If we are serious about curbing childhood obesity, we have to start with the biggest culprit. Soda and other sugary drinks are the leading contributor to the obesity epidemic. A tax on soda is a smart strategy to raise needed funds for cash-strapped cities such as El Monte and, at the same time, protect children’s health,” 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. Visit the CCPHA website at:


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  1. Taxes on items that pollute our bodies and/or our environment generate dirty money. Government’s objective behind a tax on soda would not be to reduce people’s comsumption. The objective would be to use people’s addictions to generate income.

  2. I have been on the fence on this one. I am not fond of the idea of a “soda tax” or “sugar tax” but I know that it probably couldn’t hurt. It might stop people and make them think before purchasing soda. It might save a life in the long run.

    I look at the facts and realize that childhood obesity is out of control. I always love to compare the standards of today vs. when I was a child.

    I was born at the very end of 1969 and my parents knew nothing about nutrition. I didn’t have distractions of television (the first set we owned was black and white), video games, cell phones or computers. If I wasn’t able to contact a friend on the telephone, I walked to their house or rode my bike to see if they were home.

    My parents phrase was, “go play outside!” It didn’t matter if it was snowing, raining or hot. I knew when dinnertime was and I was expected to be home by then or I was on my own for dinner (of course I could cheat and call my grandmother who lived close) Somehow, I seemed to have managed and grew up without suffering to many ill effects from it.

    Parents of today aren’t like that. They give their children every electronic device known to man. They encourage children to use and learn them without limits. If a child needs a friend they text, they facebook, or any other number of ways without ever leaving the house. Outside has become a foreign concept and the world around is passing them by. Dinnertime is catered to and made an event that is mandatory. People connect during this time but few others.

    Now I am a father at 42 years-old of a wonderful son of three. My son is not obese. I do look at nutrition labels but he is now old enough to know when and what he wants to eat. If he tells me he is full at dinner (I would never force him to eat) I believe him. Sometimes, he won’t eat because he wants a dessert and I have tried to instill in him that the consequence of not eating is not getting dessert.

    Outside is not a foreign concept. My son would rather be outdoors than indoors. I place more limits on it than my parents did. I do monitor the weather and watch out for his well-being. I get to go outdoors with him and watch him enjoy life. I love electronics and my son can use an I-pad but I monitor the use and he only gets so much and I tell him its time to stop.

    I realize parenting is about adapting but I truly wonder how many parents have adapted to making life better for their child and not seeing they are no longer connecting with them.


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