Pennies for pop to combat pounds?

By Alex Davis |

Published 02/18 2014 04:17PM

Updated 02/25 2014 01:19PM

Update: 10:08 pm, 2/22/14, Saturday
ILLINOIS -- Sugary drinks could soon cost you more. State lawmakers are taking aim at soft drinks. They hope an added tax will force people to drink less. WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

Some are certain it's soda. Others insist it's pop. But, there's something soft drink users can unite on; they don't want to pay an additional tax to consume it.

"I'd probably be pretty bummed about it honestly."

"It's not a good idea. It's going to be more expensive. Nobody's going to buy soda anymore."

A new bill at the statehouse calls for a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks sold in sealed containers. That's $0.12 more for an average-sized can of pop. Even more for twenty ounce bottles and two liters.

"For every time I drink a soda, it would really add up, I think, over time."

While consumers might not be too fond of opening their wallets wider, supporters envision the revenue going to public health programs to fight the obesity epidemic and improve childhood nutrition.

"It's time for us to start to pay more attention to what we're putting into our bodies because everyone is drinking and increasing their sugar intake."

Those in favor, think it would send a message about the sugar content in these drinks since sweet beverages are the biggest contributors of empty calories in the U.S.

"There's a direct link between all that sugar and, you know, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, all that."

Garrett McAlister is a former soda connoisseur.

"Mountain Dew. I love Mountain Dew, especially Baja Blast."

At one time, he drank as many as six cans a day.

"It's ridiculous how much sugar is in one can alone, so, if you're drinking two or three per meal, that's just a ridiculous amount of sugar to put into your body."

For the past six months though, he's been trying to switch to water.

"It's just unnecessary sugar that I don't need to be putting into my body."

Saying he sees why lawmakers might consider such a tax, since, in the long run, it may yield better health outcomes.

"Why put yourself at risk just for a soda or a pop?"

Since 2009, dozens of states have proposed this type of legislation. But, so far, no state has added a tax or surcharge on sugary drinks.
Original: 4:17 pm, 2/18/14, Tuesday
ILLINOIS -- Sugary drinks could cost you more. State lawmakers are taking aim at soft drinks in the hopes an added tax will force you to drink less.

The plan calls for a penny per ounce tax on sugary drinks sold in sealed containers. That's $0.20 for a 20-ounce bottle or $0.12 more for your average-size can.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), says the revenue generated could help fund healthcare initiative such as obesity prevention programs and childhood nutrition.

Soda drinkers aren't the only ones opposed to the plan. The Illinois Coalition Against Beverage Taxes say a tax on soda could hurt the economy and cost the state jobs.

Since 2009, dozens of states have proposed such legislation, but so far, no state has added a tax or surcharge on sugary-drinks.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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