Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) criticized California State Assemblyman Bill Monning’s (D-Carmel) proposed legislation, AB 669, which seeks to levy a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

A wealth of academic research demonstrates that taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages have no measurable effect on the waistlines of Americans. Soft drinks account for less than six percent of the average person’s calories. 

“Taxes shouldn’t be a tool for social engineering, or an instrument to penalize people for doing nothing wrong,” said J. Justin Wilson, Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom.  “Taxing soda and other beverages is enormously unpopular for a reason.  California politicians should cut down on their own spending binges instead of making citizens swallow this not-so-sweet tax.”

With a huge budget shortfall this year, California politicians are looking for clever ways to bridge the state's $25 billion budget gap. While the soda tax may fatten the wallets of California’s government, it won’t slim down residents of the Golden State. The author of a recent soda tax study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, determined that people would switch to untaxed beverages with the same amount of calories such as whole milk or fruit juice, leaving a soda tax as primarily a money-making exercise for the government. 

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are no more fattening than any other food with calories,” Wilson continued. “It’s only the overconsumption of calories, whether from soda or other foods and drinks, that lead people to put on extra pounds.”