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PHI Statement on Defeat of California Soda Fee

May 12, 2015

Statement from Matthew Marsom, Vice President, Public Health Policy and Programs

The Public Health Institute is deeply disappointed with the California State Assembly Health Committee's failure to pass the Children and Family Health Promotion Program (AB 1357), which would have required a two-cents per ounce fee on sugar-sweetened beverages, with a portion of these funds going to Farm-to-Fork and drinking water initiatives.

Liquid sugar is a health hazard. It has no nutritional value and is a major contributor to the chronic diseases that are killing our families and economy. Though evidence and experts are clear on the dangers of sugar-sweetened beverages, science did not trump the deep pockets of Big Beverage nor prove as persuasive in politics—at least for today.

It is rare that a truly important legislative action passes on the first go: no one today looks back and pats themselves on the back for voting down tobacco proposals twenty years ago.

The Public Health Institute is proud to have been a co-sponsor of AB1357 and will be there the next time a statewide soda fee is introduced; we look forward to being on the right side of history and health when it becomes law.