The Latest: California Senate passes soda tax ban

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a California effort to ban local soda taxes (all times local):

11:20 a.m.

The California Senate has reluctantly approved a measure prohibiting new local taxes on soda for the next 12 years, with Democrats saying the beverage industry has put lawmakers in an untenable position. 

The measure approved Thursday is part of an effort to eliminate a ballot measure that would make it much harder for local governments to raise taxes of any kind. The California Business Roundtable will cancel the ballot measure if lawmakers ban soda taxes. 

Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco says the industry “is aiming a nuclear weapon at government in California.” 

The measure now goes to the Assembly, which was expected to take it up later Thursday.

Arizona and Michigan have state pre-emption laws blocking local soda taxes, and voters in Oregon will decide the issue this November.

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10 a.m.

California lawmakers are expected to vote to prohibit new local taxes on soda for the next 12 years.

The Thursday debate is the result of a last-minute deal to block a beverage industry-backed ballot measure that would make it much harder for cities and counties to raise taxes of any kind.

The makers of soda and other sugary drinks are fighting hard against a growing wave of taxation by local governments and are turning increasingly to state legislatures for relief. Four California cities and others such as Philadelphia and Seattle have per-ounce taxes on sugary drinks.

The move drew a strong rebuke from public health advocates who view soda taxes as a crucial front in their efforts to contain diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

But local government officials reluctantly backed the legislation because they feared the industry-backed ballot measure.

Categories: California News