DeLauro wants new tax on soda

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who represents a part of Shelton, has reintroduced a bill to add a sugar tax to soda and many over beverages.

The Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax (SWEET) Act would institute a tax of 1-cent per teaspoon of caloric sweetener, such as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Nutritionally important beverage products such as milk, 100% fruit juice and infant formula would be exempted, she said.

DeLauro, a Democrat in her 13th term, said the legislation is intended to tackle the dual epidemics of Type 2 diabetes and obesity by discouraging excessive sugar in beverages.

‘A crucial tipping point’

“People want to be healthy and they want their kids to be healthy. But we are in the midst of dual epidemics, with Type 2 diabetes and obesity afflicting our nation and the related, astronomical healthcare costs,” said DeLauro, who introduced identical legislation in the last session of Congress.
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“There is a clear relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and a host of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and tooth decay,” she said. “We are at a crucial tipping point. The SWEET Act would help correct the path we are currently on.”

Would fund prevention, treatment

The revenue raised by the SWEET Act would be used to fund initiatives designed to reduce the human and economic costs of Type 2 diabetes, obesity dental problems, heart disease, and other health conditions related to sugar-sweetened beverages.

This would include prevention and treatment programs, research, increased access to healthy food in low-income neighborhoods, subsidizing fresh fruits and vegetables, and nutrition education.

Skyrocketing rates

Type 2 diabetes and obesity rates have skyrocketed since the late 1970s, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting more than one-third of American adults were obese in 2012, according to a release from DeLauro’s office.

Scientific research overwhelmingly shows a link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and such diseases, DeLauro said.

At least 20% of America’s estimated $190 billion in obesity-related medical expenditures are paid for by taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, she said.

Shelton has two congressional districts

DeLauro represents the Third Congressional District, which includes a part of Shelton and most of the greater New Haven region. She lives in New Haven and was first elected in 1990.

Most of Shelton is in the Fourth Congressional District, represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes of Greenwich. Himes was first elected in 2008. His district includes most towns in Fairfield County.