|The fat tax is a
new entry this year
Let them drink soda! Tempers came to a head in 2017 when
local committees in US cities and counties began wrangling over
levies on sugary fizzy drinks.
The sugary drinks tax is intended to provide buffers for the
public health systems bearing the results of the health
repercussions such as diabetes, and to curb consumption as a
form of prevention, although the effectiveness of the latter
Across the US, more than one in three adults and one in six
children, aged two to 19, are obese, according to the Centre
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which result in more
than $150 billion in healthcare costs annually.
"Investing in obesity prevention provides a significant
return on investment for the American taxpayer," the CDC
advises. Nearly half (49%) of American adults drink a
sugar-sweetened beverage on a given day and to undercut these
habits health officials have demanded a tax on sugary
Opponents of the controversial tax consider it a
manifestation of a nanny state in which the government
interferes too much with personal choices.
"The beverage industry is a major economic contributor to
the global economy, and selective taxation can have negative
economic results," a spokesperson for the International Council
of Beverage Associations tells International Tax
A global wave of taxation for sugary drinks is likely to
alter beverage company strategies to include less sugar in
products and ultimately lower any potential impact from
The toast of the town was certainly the overturning of the
sugar tax in Chicago in October, which repealed the year-old
sweetened beverage tax ordinance in Cook County, shortly after
it was introduced in 2016.
Former New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg contributed $3
million in support of a campaign to uphold the measure in the
fight against Big Soda, after failing to implement the tax in
Berkeley, California, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were
among the first cities to pass the tax on sugary drinks,
followed by Albany, San Francisco and Oakland, all in
California; and Seattle, Washington; Boulder, Colorado; and
Industry associations have argued the tax will cause mass
chaos and confusion for customers.
In Cook County the tax rate was $.01 per ounce of sweetened
beverage – simple enough.
But what happens when it's a syrup?
The Cook Country Sweetened Beverage Tax specified:
"Sweetened beverages produced from syrups using a beverage
dispensing machine and powders using a beverage dispensing
machine or by hand mixing (fountain drinks, lemonade, etc.)
– tax is applied to the total amount of beverage that
the syrup or powder will make per the manufacturers'
For example, a 5 gallon bag of syrup will make 3,840 ounces
of beverage – at tax rate of $.01 per ounce of
sweetened beverage, the tax for that bag of syrup is
The tax is also thought to be an easy money grab for
governments. The most obvious example is the probably the UAE,
which in October instated a 50% tax on soda and 100% on energy
The sin taxes, levied on goods deemed as part of unhealthy
lifestyles such as alcohol and tobacco, are nothing new.
American comedian Paula Poundstone famously said: "The wages of
sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it's just
sort of a tired feeling."