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The Push For A "Soda Tax" In Illinois Still Has Some Fizz


A Chicago alderman has proposed a penny per ounce tax on sugary drinks in that city.  There is also an effort to make that happen statewide.

Elissa Bassler says this idea can both bring in revenue and improve health.  She's the CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute and head of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity. 

The definition of sugary drink would of course include soda.  But also juice and even teas and coffees that have sugar added.  The plan failed to win approval in the legislature, but Bassler's group is working to have it considered as part of a larger revenue package for state government.

"I believe it's still part of the conversation of what is the mix of revenue and spending for the budget," she said.

"Sugar that you consume by drinking it has a different effect in terms of switching on and off whether you are hungry or not.  So people tend to consume the sugary drink and then go ahead and consume nearly the same additional calories in addition to it," said Bassler.

The Illinois Beverage Association has opposed the idea, saying it would harm the economy and potentially result in job loss in that industry. The trade group argues education is a better way to reduce caloric intake.

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