A controversial bill that would tax sodas with sugar has been introduced in Austin by State Rep. Joe Farias, D-Dist. 118, of San Antonio.
The tax would be charge a nickel extra for every 12 ounces of soft drink in a container. It covers cans, bottles, and soda fountain drinks.
Farias said the tax will be used to help with child-related heath issues.
“Sodas (that are) adding to children with diabetes and heart disease, we can use that money (from the proposed tax) to help prevent — hopefully — diabetes and heart disease,” Farias said.
The tax would be split — 40 percent for the “children’s health promotion account,” which includes funding for education, and 60 percent for the general fund.
“For the first time in the history of the state, we didn’t fund new student enrollment, so we’ve got to make an effort to find some money somewhere,” Farias said.
Several beverages would not be included in the tax, such as 100 percent-fruit drinks, alcohol and sports drinks.
Farias did have some support for the tax in San Antonio.
“I would say 70 percent ought to go back to the school system, starting at Pre-K,” said Julio Gonzales, a San Antonio resident.
Farias said he expected some opposition — and he got that, too.
“I am not a diet (soda) drinker,” said Norma Gonzales. “I don’t drink diet sodas. I like my sugar I like my sugar high and I don’t want to be taxed for it.”
“I don’ think it’s going to fly,” said Miguel Villanueva, a San Antonio resident.
Farais said he also expects push back from other legislators as well as lobbyists.