The new (old) trend out of California is the reviled soda tax, which will appear as a referendum on the ballots of two cities, Richmond and El Monte. Two other cities rejected soda tax proposals.

And while proponents hide behind “public health” and “the children,” the San Diego Union-Tribune editors, like their colleagues at the San Francisco Chronicle, are having none of this cynical spin. Calling the trend “The Soda-Tax Scams,” the U-T editors write,

Indeed, in California, these proposals are little more than a scam cooked up by cash-strapped cities to help them finance the fat in their budgets.

Hear hear. There’s no evidence that the proposed soda taxes will slim people down. A study by researchers from Duke-National University of Singapore found that a steep 40 percent tax would reduce daily calorie consumption by less than one percent of Americans’ daily intake.

As we told the Philadelphia Daily News in response to reports that Mayor Nutter might resurrect his soda tax: “It’s certainly easier to browbeat people into accepting taxes based on their own fatness than to cut the fat out of government spending.”

With California and its municipalities facing fiscal emergencies, they have to make hard decisions to solve their problems. Instead, they have thus far chosen a policy best called “just another gimmick.”