Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced this week the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax (SWEET Act), which aims to institute a tax of one cent per teaspoon – 4.2 grams – of sugar, high fructose corn syrup or caloric sweetener.
The measure (HB 5279), introduced Wednesday says, “A 20-ounce bottle of soda contains about 16 teaspoons of sugars. Yet, the American Heart Association recommends that Americans consume no more than six to nine teaspoons of sugar per day.”
Even though the manufacturers’ of the sweet drinks are targeted to pay the tax, the text of the bill itself notes that the goal is to reduce public consumption through a price increase.
“This Act is intended to discourage excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by increasing the price of these products and by creating a dedicated revenue source for programs and research designed to reduce the human and economic costs of diabetes, obesity, dental caries, and other diet-related health conditions in priority populations,” the measure says.
DeLauro had earlier discussed the proposal while she was crafting it.
During a video presentation for The National Soda Summit in June DeLauro said, “It is long past time that we pass and support policies that work to our better health instead. With that in mind I’m working on legislation right now to tax sugar-sweetened drinks, like sodas, in a way that reflects the serious damage they are doing to our health.”