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Rhode Island Legislators Call for Soda Tax

State lawmakers want to add a $1.28 per gallon tax to any sugar-sweetened soft drink, and powder or syrup beverage.
February 6, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rhode Island has entered the battle over the taxing sodas with a proposal before the legislature to tax sugar-sweetened drinks, the Providence Journal reports. The bill would tack on a $1.28 per gallon tax to any soft drink, and powder or syrup beverage sweetened with sugar.

State Reps. Larry Valencia, Teresa Tanzi, Arthur Handy, Maria Cimini and Edith Ajello sponsored the legislation put forth last week. Their bill lists sugar-sweetened drinks as any "nonalcoholic beverage€¦containing sugar, corn syrup or any other high-calorie sweetener including€¦sodas, sports drinks or energy drinks."

The bill has garnered opposition, including the Center for Consumer Freedom, which labeled the tax as "absurdly misguided when it comes to promoting weight loss. Study after study has demonstrated that soda is not a unique contributor to obesity."

In Texas, a lawmaker has proposed a penny-per-ounce tax certain types of sweetened beverages. Last year, California voters defeated measures in Richmond and El Monte that would have added taxes to soda.