California lawmakers propose soda tax, ban on large sugary drinks

California lawmakers on Wednesday proposed a bill intended to address a “public health crisis” of obesity in the state, including taxing sodas and issuing a statewide ban on sugary drinks that exceed 16 ounces.

Under the bill, restaurants and stores in California would be banned from selling unsealed “sugar-sweetened beverage” portions that are bigger than 16 ounces. That would include places with self-serve soda fountains.

“Big soda has profited off of life-threatening disease and suffering for too long,” said David Chiu, a Democratic state assemblyman who introduced the bill.

It’s still unclear what the size of the fee would be, but according to the Los Angeles Times, past proposals would have established a 2-cents-per-fluid tax, which would raise $2 billion annually. On a 12-ounce can, that would cost the consumer an additional 24 cents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drinking sugary beverages is linked with heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities.


Critics of the bill, including Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher, slammed it as “government intrusion” that would place an undue burden on working families that are “already costing with the state’s high cost of living,” the Times reported.