Survey: Proposed California soda tax gaining support from voters

FRESNO, Calif.

A proposed bill that would tax sugary drinks is gaining support from California voters. Two of every three voters are in favor of taxing sugary beverages, according to a survey by the Field Poll.

Liquor store owner Bob Bhaula says he's seen the impact of similar tax hikes, and he says consumers will notice.

"People are going to be paying higher, then when they have to pay higher, they are going to consume less," said Bhaula.

Under the proposal, the tax money would go toward funding schools, public health departments, and local community programs that would help educate about diabetes and obesity.

But some people say increased cost won't stop them from drinking sugary beverages.

"I don't think it's a bad idea. I personally think people need to drink more water, watch out for their health a little bit more," said Fresno resident Laura Brown.

Chris Mathys, manager of Valley Tax Payer Coalition, says there is a place to draw the line when it comes to taxing goods, and food is one of them.

"When are we going to stop? Are we going to start saying now that beef is bad for us because it clogs our arteries, or are we going to say that macaroni is bad because it can lead to obesity," said Mathys.

In addition to taxing sugary drinks, the proposal also calls for a health warning label, similar to the one found on cigarette cartons.

Medical experts are throwing their support behind the measure. But organizations representing beverage producers say the bill unfairly blames one product for obesity.

If passed, the soda tax legislation would be the first of its kind in the nation and would go into effect July 1, 2015.

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