A bill in the Kansas Legislature to levy a tax on sugary soft drinks sounds like a win-win deal to me. Not only would the proposal, Kansas Senate Bill 567, somewhat sweeten the state’s pitiful coffers up front, but the proposal also has the potential to reduce soft drink consumption a tad and thereby health-care costs over the long run.
The estimated $90 million benefit to the tax rolls isn’t enough to balance the budget, but imagine the potential savings over for Kansas residents suffering diabetes and obesity at least partly due to soft drinks. Liquid calories are notorious for their weight-adding facility (just Google “liquid calories”), and the latest news says added sugar also contributes to heart disease. (Here’s Time magazine’s report; lots of others exist.)
Opponents of the proposal, chiefly bottlers and their employees, plan an ad campaign and testified against the bill in the Ways and Means Committee (Associated Press). You can let committee members know those opponents do not represent you. The following senators are committee members:
Chairperson Jay Emler, Carolyn McGinn, John Vratil, Pat Apple, Ty Masterson, Vicki Schmidt, Jean Schodorf, Mark Taddiken, Ruth Teichman, Dwayne Umbarger, Laura Kelly, Kelly Kultala and Janis Lee. Their contact information is here. Let them know what you think!