Monday, May 23, 2016 2:52:00 PM

Soda tax proposals have been introduced to the Illinois General Assembly for several years. Most

recently, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-3rd District) and State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-18th

District) introduced legislation, SB 1584/HB 2667, which imposes a punitive tax on sugar-sweetened

beverages, like sports drinks, juice drinks, teas and soda. While both measures are not currently active,

the proposal continues to be promoted as a revenue generating option.

The beverage industry has demonstrated partnerships are an effective and more productive way to

achieve the goals of the soda tax without burdening Illinois residents and families.


A soda tax will hurt Illinois families and our economy.

  •  Affect Working Families: Adding an additional tax on sugar-sweetened beverages will raise

  grocery costs for working families. This legislation will also cut jobs and hurt our economic   


  • 100,000 Jobs at Stake: Imposing additional taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages will drive down sales, in turn negatively impacting bottlers, their employees, agricultural suppliers, distributors and retailers. With more than 100,000 Illinois residents directly and indirectly employed by the beverage industry, the vast beverage industry could face layoffs, if the soda tax is signed into law.

  • Lower Revenue at State and Local Level: Beverage-related jobs create $654 million in wages in Illinois, with an additional $702 million in wages for occupations that rely on beverage sales. Passing this soda tax would decrease sales resulting in a decrease in local and state revenue at a time when the governments across Illinois are strapped for revenue. Additionally, the state would incur additional costs to administer the tax.


The Beverage Industry is Creating More Effective Partnerships to Address Public Health.

  • Fewer Calories in Schools: The beverage industry has dramatically cut calories from beverages in schools. Calories from all beverages shipped to all schools nationwide have been slashed by almost 90% and full-calorie soft drinks have been removed from schools.

  • Transforming the Beverage Landscape: America’s leading beverage companies publicly

committed to a goal of reducing beverage calories consumed per person by 20 percent by 2025

through their new Balanced Calories Initiative. Through industry-led partnerships with public

health advocates, water and other no- and lower-calorie beverages are expected to grow


  • Launching Mixify: The beverage industry understands the need to balance our diets and

               physical activity, which is why the industry launched Mixify, a comprehensive educational

               campaign to give Americans the resources they need to lead healthy lifestyles.


The soda tax is an ineffective way to address this nation’s obesity program.

  • No Noticeable Impact on BMI: A study conducted by an economist at the Yale School of Public Health found “…any obesity-related benefit of decreased soda consumption that comes from a soda tax is, on average, more than offset by increased caloric consumption from other


  • Taxes don’t make people healthier: “Sin taxes”— selective taxes on goods deemed to be

unhealthy or poor choices—don’t make people healthier. These regressive taxes aren’t

impacting health. Education and access to better food make a difference. (“Regressive Effects:

Causes and Consequences of Selective Consumption Taxation” Mercatus Center, George Mason University, 2015)


  • Childhood obesity rates in Illinois are actually falling: The Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity recently reported the percentage of the state’s third graders that were considered overweight fell 15% and the percentage who were obese declined 14% from 2004 to 2014.

  • Food is the No. 1 source of added sugars, not sugar-sweetened beverages: According to data from the CDC, sugar-sweetened beverages are not the No. 1 source of added sugars for children and teens, refuting the common assertion by some researchers and activists. The data also show calories from added sugars from soda are down 39 percent since 2000.




The non-alcoholic beverage industry is deeply committed to Illinois and its economy. There are more

than 65 soft drink bottling plants and distribution facilities located throughout Illinois. More than

100,000 Illinois residents are directly and indirectly employed by the beverage industry. These jobs are

real and they account for more than $6 billion in Illinois wages. The industry is also responsible for $21.1 billion in economic impact annually in Illinois. And, more than $41 million has been made in charitable donations from the industry and its employees to date. (John Dunham & Associates, Inc.)


Supporters of the Beverage Industry in Illinois

7-Eleven, Inc.


Americans for Prosperity

Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois

Black McDonald’s Owner Operators Association

Bloomington Normal Convention and Tourism Bureau

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Grocery Manufacturers Association

Hospitality Business Association of Chicago

Illinois Association of Convenience Stores

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

Illinois Chapter, National Association of Theatre Owners

Illinois Farm Bureau

Illinois Food Retailers Association

Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Illinois Licensed Beverage Association

Illinois Manufacturers Association

Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association

Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois Restaurant Association

Illinois Retail Merchants Association

Midwest Food Processors Association


National Automatic Merchandising Association

National Federation of Independent Business Owners

Teamsters Joint Council 25


and more than 1,000 small businesses, restaurants, chambers of commerce and business organizations!

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