05/25/2020

California soda tax proposal shelved while lawmaker vows to try again next year

A proposed California soda tax is dead for the year after the lawmaker running the bill announced Monday it’s being held in committee for the rest of 2019.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom said his proposed 2 cent per fluid ounce tax on sugary drinks will become a “two-year bill,” meaning it could be taken up again next year.

“While this is not the outcome I had hoped for, (Assembly Bill) 138 remains alive in the legislative process, albeit on a slower track,” the Santa Monica Democrat said in a statement. “This delay is unfortunate because, with the health outcomes of millions of Californians at stake, there is no time to lose.”

Lawmakers last year begrudgingly agreed to ban on local soda taxes under pressure from the beverage industry. After then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed that bill, the California Business Roundtable dropped a ballot measure primarily funded by soda companies that would have hindered cities and counties from raising any taxes.

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