PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has proposed a tax on soda and sugar sweetened beverages in his first budget that, if passed into law, would make Philadelphia only the second city in the country to enact such a tax. Josh Daniels, who serves on the Berkeley, California school board and was also co-chair of the group Berkeley vs. Big Soda, says the sugar tax that was enacted in his town is paying major dividends.
Daniels, in an interview with Dom Giordano on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, said the goal of the tax is to make the community healthier.
“We’re not telling anyone they can’t purchase soda. We’re not banning it. We’re not capping it. We’re simply saying that this is a product that no doctor recommends you drink more. This is a way to remind people and use the free market, basically, to encourage a decline in consumption because it’s something that is not healthy for individual and not healthy for the community.”
He feels this is just one step a city can take to fight back against diseases that come from consuming too much sugar.
“The statistics nationwide, and this is as true in Berkeley as it is in Philadelphia, one in three kids are predicted to get diabetes in their lifetime. There’s a huge increase in obesity and diabetes and we really wanted to try to do something about it, to have a very concrete, specific plan to approach this. We looked at what was the leading contributor to this obesity and diabetes crisis and I think it’s pretty clear that scientific evidence points to the consumption of sugary drinks.”
Daniels stated the money raised from the tax on sugary drinks is making a difference in the lives of children.
“Right now, with respect to public health, we’re really interested in making sure that this continues to be successful. The implementation went really smoothly. We’re a city of 100,000 people, obviously much smaller than Philadelphia. We’ve collected about $1.5 million of that tax from the sugary drink tax and we’re focusing on spending that money on nutrition education in the school district and other public health ventures.”