Laugh it up, Republicans, but a soda tax is a serious response to a deadly serious problem

Monday, March 4, 2019

Conservatives found much to chuckle about after Democratic state lawmakers last week proposed, once again, a tax on sugary sodas, along with limits on cup sizes.

“We get it, too much sugar isn’t great for you,” Assembly Republicans said in a smirking, smart-alecky statement.

“But what’s next — criminalizing pizzas over 18 inches? A Dorito tax? Only one squirt of butter on your movie theater popcorn? A fine for not eating your broccoli?”

Yeah, there’s nothing like a little snark when faced with serious proposals to combat a public health crisis.

The Assembly Republicans dismissed their Democratic colleagues’ “radical” ideas by saying liberals have “never seen a tax or regulation they don’t like.”

The reality is that California and the rest of the country are grappling with an obesity epidemic that has caused rates of diabetes, heart disease and other costly chronic illnesses to soar. And there is a long history of policymakers using taxes and regulations to influence behavior for the sake of the public good.