Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.
   
     
     
     



In Berkeley, Soda Tax Is Doing What It's Supposed To Do

Wednesday, October 04, 2017
Forbes
by Bruce Y. Lee

When Berkeley, California, in November 2014, became the first city in the United States to pass a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax (and San Francisco did not), some soda tax advocates were worried. After all, Berkeley was not the ideal location for a "great soda tax experiment." With many eyes on this experiment, an unsuccessful experiment had the potential of being a high-profile setback. However, a study just published in PLOS Medicine lends further evidence that the SSB tax is doing what it is supposed to do.

What exactly is the one-cent-per-ounce tax, implemented in March 2015, supposed to do? Adding a tax to SSBs makes buying them a bit more expensive, which may tilt a thirsty individual towards drinking water instead, especially if the individual is short on cash. While soda and other SSBs are not the only causes of the ongoing childhood obesity epidemic, drinking beverages high in added sugar and calories certainly isn't helping. In addition to changing behavior, a SSB tax could provide additional revenue to the city. The soda industry fought the SSB tax in Berkeley and San Francisco, claiming that the tax is intrusive and will disproportionately affect lower-income people. Thus, in 2014, the push for an SSB tax succeeded in Berkeley but failed in San Francisco.

At the time, the San Francisco defeat disheartened many SSB tax advocates. With its size, diverse population and standing as a prominent city, San Francisco would have been a major victory. By comparison, Berkeley is relatively small (certainly compared to San Francisco), 17 square miles in area and just over 116,000 in population, meaning that residents could readily travel to adjoining towns that didn't have a soda tax to buy soda. Also, compared to San Francisco, Berkeley has a much smaller lower-income population and potentially fewer people who use cost as a deciding factor of whether to drink soda.

Soda tax advocates worried that the size of Berkeley would inhibit the tax's effectiveness (Photo: Shutterstock)

In just a couple of years since the San Francisco defeat, my, have times changed. Six locations have since passed SSB taxes, including San Francisco. A study published last fall in the American Journal of Public Health showed that SSB consumption decreased by 21% and water consumption increased by more than 63% in Berkeley after the SSB tax. And now for the PLOS Medicine study, researchers from the Public Health Institute (Lynn D. Silver, Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra and Marta Induni) and the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina (Shu Wen Ng, Lindsey Smith Taillie, Donna R. Miles, Jennifer M. Poti and Barry M. Popkin) found that one year after the SSB tax was introduced, SSB sales fell in Berkeley by 9.6% and rose in surrounding areas by 6.9%. Meanwhile, sales of water in Berkeley jumped by 15.6%.

Does this mean that the same effects will be seen elsewhere? Potentially. The American Beverage Association claimed in a statement that "Berkeley’s relatively small size, high median income and low baseline consumption rates make it a challenging place to determine the true impact of a beverage tax–unlike Philadelphia, where the tax has led to significant job losses and economic hardship for working families. This study does, however, confirm that sales of taxed beverages inside the city declined while sales of those same beverages outside the city increased, which is also what is happening in Philadelphia." On the other hand, with Berkeley being less than ideal for such an experiment, effects could be greater elsewhere.

Again, SSB taxes are not the cure-all for childhood obesity. There are numerous other causes of the childhood obesity epidemic, such as the food that kids are eating, their lack of physical activity and other systems around them. As Louise Codling, head of policy and public affairs at World Cancer Research Fund, stated: “It is encouraging to see that the tax in Berkeley effectively reduced purchases of sugary drinks. We hope that this encourages similar taxes to be introduced in more places around the world, however this is just one part of the multi-faceted approach needed to tackle the obesity epidemic." Moreover, will the SSB tax effects persist over time or will people get used to the higher prices?

Follow me on Twitter @bruce_y_lee and visit our Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Read my other Forbes pieces here.



Recent Headlines

Troubled detainee at center of unusual court fight between Loyola hospital, Cook County
Monday, July 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Doctor fired by Cook County medical examiner now under the microscope in Indiana
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Berrios' analysts used Zillow, other shortcuts in assessing property values, documents show
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Forest Preserves officials discuss officer's resignation
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and governmental truck
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Transformation in the outdoors
Friday, July 13, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Forest preserve cop resigns after apparently failing to help woman being harassed over Puerto Rico shirt
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

5 things: A civics lesson on Puerto Rico after man rants about woman's flag T-shirt, questions citizenship
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners: Get Rid of Forest Preserve Police
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Schneider wants hearing over fatal crash blamed on Cook forest preserve driver
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Daily Herald

Man who harassed woman for Puerto Rican flag shirt charged with hate crime
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WLS ABC 7 Chicago

EDITORIAL: A judge drops a gun on a courthouse floor. So much for respect for the law
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest preserve officer who didn't help woman in Puerto Rican flag shirt 'tarnished the whole department,' commissioner says
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle apologizes to woman berated by man at forest preserve for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Video appears to show forest preserves officer failing to help woman being harassed for wearing shirt with Puerto Rican flag design
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Could blockchain technology transform homebuying in Cook County — and beyond?
Monday, July 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Forest Preserves probe cop’s response to Puerto Rican harassment complaint
Monday, July 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP