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Soda tax to fight obesity?

The New York Times this week had a lengthy story on the battle over efforts by local officials in Washington, D.C., to impose a tax on sugary soft drinks.

The New York Times this week had a lengthy story on the battle over efforts by local officials in Washington, D.C., to impose a tax on sugary soft drinks.

Advocates say such a tax could help fight the nation’s obesity problem — the same way raising taxes on cigarettes has helped deter smoking.

But, as expected, major soft-drink companies are fighting the idea and have already defeated plans for similar taxes in New York and Philadelphia.

With Evanston facing an ongoing budget crunch and with local officials often eager to embrace what’s seen as socially progressive legislation, Evanston Now asked Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl about the idea, and she said it sounded like "interesting way to make money and improve public health."

But the road to a soda tax here wouldn’t be straight forward. City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says that under current Illinois law Chicago is the only municipality with the power to impose a soda tax.

So, what do you think? Should Evanston lawmakers in Springfield work to get state law changed so the city could tax soda pop? Vote in our poll and add your comments.

Update 7:30 p.m.: State. Rep. Robyn Gabel of Evanston, asked this afternoon about the soda tax concept, said she’d be inclined to support it. "I don’t believe in sugary drinks for anybody…in Chicago or not," she said.

 

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