Massachusetts lawmakers pushing for sugar tax

The bill could raise about $368 million annually

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Soda drinkers could soon find themselves paying more to enjoy their favorite beverage. State lawmakers are pushing for a soda tax they say will ease the rise in obesity-related diseases.

Bilal Abdulhaqq of Chicopee told 22News, “There’s a pro and con to it. I believe sugary drinks are causing a lot of problems with diabetes and high blood pressure and tooth decay its one way that people will hopefully move away from the sugary products.”

The bill would be set up based on the amount of added sugar per 12 fluid ounces.

Beverages with between 5 and 19 grams per 12 ounces would be taxed at 1 cent per ounce. Beverages with 20 or more grams per 12 ounces would be taxed at 2 cents per ounce. For example, a can of root beer has 45 grams of sugar in it. That would be an extra 24 cents per can.

Not everyone is on board with the possibility of the sugary drink tax. Chris Millett of Chicopee told 22News, “Personally, I think it’s kind of ridiculous. In an effort to reduce sugar consumption, I guess it’s kind of good, but I think taxes are already high enough.”

The bill could raise about $368 million annually and would set up a tiered tax rate based on the amount of added sugar per 12 fluid ounces.

Governor Baker believes the tax would just put a burden on low-income communities.

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