Senate Ways and Means Rejects Beverage Tax
From No Hawaii Beverage Tax
We wanted to share some very good news developing in the State Legislature. The Senate Ways and Means Committee has decided not to hear the beverage tax. While the bill could potentially still be heard before the legislature ends in early May, we are cautiously optimistic that this is an important first step toward killing the bill.
"We decided that we won't be moving forward with the soda fee this year. Of course, it's always in play for next year," said Ways and Means Committee chairman David Ige. "In just talking with the members, we didn't believe that it would be prudent for us to implement that fee this year."
The No Hawaii Beverage Tax coalition worked hard to show lawmakers how harmful the beverage tax would be for families and businesses here, and we are happy that the members of the Ways and Means committee decided not to move the bill forward. The Senate recognizes we must all share in the responsibility for solving obesity, rather than targeting a single product.
Thank you for your ongoing support. Together, we are one step closer to ensuring that the beverage tax is defeated for the third year in a row!
Star-Adv: Soda Bottlers Must Pony Up or Soda Tax Will be Back
SA March 4 2013: "Of course, it's always in play for next year," warned Sen. David Ige, Senate Ways and Means chairman, as members decided to postpone the "soda tax" at least for now. The delay ought to be an opportunity for the beverage industry to make extra efforts to respond to the growing health problem of obesity, especially among children.
In January, for instance, the Coca-Cola Co. took a small yet significant step by launching an advertising campaign that acknowledges the nation's obesity crisis and saying that it wants to be part of the solution. Though it got mixed reviews — health advocates said it didn't go far enough — the fact that the beverage giant is even trending in that direction to help spread an anti-obesity message is encouraging.
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Soda Tax Bill Fizzes Out
SA March 1, 2013: Isle soda drinkers will not have to worry about paying a penalty this year to get their jolt of sugar.
State senators have chosen not to advance a soda fee of 1 cent per ounce that would have brought in about $37 million a year to counter obesity. The Abercrombie administration had hoped that the soda fee, as with higher taxes on tobacco, would discourage consumption.
"We decided that we won't be moving forward with the soda fee this year. Of course, it's always in play for next year," said Sen. David Ige (D, Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea), chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. "In just talking with the members, we didn't believe that it would be prudent for us to implement that fee this year."
The soda fee had moved through the Senate Health Committee and the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee but was not taken up by the Senate Ways and Means Committee in time to meet today's internal procedural deadline to have bills ready to cross between chambers next week. A bill for a soda fee in the House was not advanced.
The beverage industry opposed the soda fee as unfairly targeting sugar-sweetened drinks when factors such as diet and a lack of exercise also contribute to obesity. Many retailers also warned about the economic impact of a soda fee on business.
"We are pleased to hear that our state senators have used logic and common sense rather than an emotional argument to deal with the important issue of obesity," No Hawaii Beverage Tax, a coalition of business interests, said in a statement. "It is a complex problem that must be met with a strategic, long-term, multi-faceted approach, including good diet habits and exercise, rather than with a one-beam laser gun approach called a beverage tax.
"This tax would have hurt our economy in numerous ways, including many small businesses and individual consumers. We are grateful that the Senate recognizes we must all share in the responsibility for solving obesity, rather than targeting a single product."
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