Connecticut Considering Tax on Sugary Drinks

The state is considering adding a beverage tax on sugary drinks at the rate of a penny an ounce.

A 20-ounce soda would cost an extra 20 cents. If the soda was being sold for $2, the tax would equate to ten percent.

“Why tax soda when everyone drinks soda when it’s another unnecessary tax,” Brittany Noelle, of Hartford, said.

The bill targets non-alcoholic drinks that have a sweetener with calories.

Supporters say the additional charge could raise more than $85-million a year for the state.

“We’ve in favor of this beverage tax because we view it as a triple win,” Daniel Long, research director at Connecticut Voices for Children, said.

Long said the added cost might steer people away from sugary drinks and the money raised would benefit programs for children and obesity prevention.

But previous attempts to pass the tax have failed.

“We are more hopeful this year. I think in part because of the nature of the current budget crisis that we really need to look at more options,” Long said.

Businesses are worried about their bottom line.

In a statement, the Connecticut Food Association president, Wayne Pesce, wrote in part:

"Higher prices will send Connecticut families across the border into Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York to purchase their beverages and while they are there, they’ll do all of their grocery shopping."

Not everyone agrees.

“I do feel like we are overtaxed. However I like this idea and I wouldn’t mind paying a little extra,” Gloria Morgan, of Meriden, said.

A public hearing on the issue is set at the Legislative Office Building for Tuesday at noon.

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