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Alderman Calls For Higher Tax On Soft Drinks

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Soft Drink Tax

Ald. George Cardenas (12th) wants a higher sales tax on soft drinks. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago alderman behind the city’s 5-cent tax on bottled water is now setting his sights on soda drinkers.

As WBBM Newsrasdio’s Mike Krauser reports, Ald. George Cardenas (12th) is backing off his idea for a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, such as pop and energy drinks. But he still wants to see a tax that is high enough to discourage people from buying them, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Cardenas has put out a call for hearings on the effects of sugary beverages on obesity and the implications of imposing higher city sales tax on them, the Sun-Times reported.

The notice for hearings says a tax on soft drinks could reduce obesity and its associated health costs, and could also generate much-needed revenue, the newspaper reported.

He intends to take testimony from medical experts, and then get a proposal for a sales tax hike together by the spring, the Sun-Times reported.

Cardenas’ proposal for a bottled water tax went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008.

The alderman had called for a tax of up to 25 cents on the cost of every bottle of water to help close a $217 million budget gap. The Columbia Chronicle reported that the tax brought in revenue just between January and April 2008.

In August 2007, when Cardenas first proposed the bottled water tax, one Chicagoan told CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman he liked the idea of taxing soft drinks better.

“So raise the taxes on pop. Why would you want to raise it on something that’s healthy?” Dennis Hopkins said in 2007. “You can give a newborn baby bottled water. It’s good for you.”

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