Last night the Davis, Calif., city council stood with local small businesses and consumers and voted down a proposal which could have led to taxes on common beverages.
"When these kinds of proposals are put together, it's always the small consumers and small businesses that get hurt first," Suresh Kumar, owner of Olive Drive Market in Davis, told The Sacramento Bee. "If you see what they've done in Berkeley, I have not heard anything positive about the tax that's been imposed."
Not only do beverage taxes burden small businesses and consumers with higher prices, they do nothing to improve public health. Take, for example, a tax in Mexico. Studies show that the tax has had no measurable effect on obesity rates or body mass index as proponents claimed it would. In fact, a study by Mexico’s National Soft Drinks Association has found that the higher prices caused by the tax led to a mere 6.2 fewer calories per capita for the average 3,024 calorie diet. In the meantime, the majority of the tax was paid by Mexico’s poorest families and it was a factor in the closure of more than 30,000 mom and pop stores.
Industry and government need to work together to help people achieve balance in their lives, and beverage companies are doing their part. We put clear calorie information on the front of our products and are doing the same with 3 million company–controlled vending machines, coolers and fountains. Through our Balance Calories Initiative we have set a goal to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025. We cut beverage calories delivered to schools by more than 90 percent and we are offering consumers more lower- and no-calorie options and smaller portion sizes than ever.
To learn more about how the beverage industry is offering real solutions, visit http://deliveringchoices.org/.