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Why did California's soda tax die?

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Understanding the outcomes, people and plays of state legislation can be both complex and time-consuming. Keep reading to see why the soda tax ultimately failed, and how POLITICO California Pro shed light on the news and analysis coming out of this proposed bill.


1. How did it start?

Toward the end of February, POLITICO California Pro reporter Angela Hart reported that Assemblyman Richard Bloom proposed a soda tax intent bill to help combat the costs of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. This bill, along with similar initiatives, resumed a fierce battle between the soda industry and health advocates in the state Capitol. Even amid debates, the bill, backed by doctor and dentist groups, cleared the Assembly Health Committee in early March.

Following the bill closely, POLITICO California Pro released over a dozen stories regarding the soda tax. Real-time breaking news alerts and deep dive analysis included:

  • Soda tax advances in Legislature, but two related bills still before hearing

  • Soda tax bills dies just before Assembly committee hearing

  • Note: The global search bar in the Pro platform allows for an intuitive search experience so users to easily pull all mentions of any bill.


2. How did the bill die?

Angela Hart reported last week that Bloom, who proposed the bill, ultimately pulled it from consideration because of opposition from Assemblywoman Autumn Burke. Burke opposes a statewide tax on soda and other sugary drinks because the proposal doesn't include money to lower the cost of bottled water.

Burke states, “The issue for me is that I represent a disadvantaged community and it's a regressive tax. And it is all fine and good to say you're going to educate people in my community about the harms of soda with the money that you have just charged them, but what does it matter if they can't afford the alternative?"


3. Where can I learn more?

With Legislative Compass, you can dive deep on legislature to uncover the policy intelligence you need, including in-depth information on the soda tax bill. Legislative Compass also allows you to go beyond tracking with bill analysis. Our team of policy reporters break down the complex issues and expand on the political contexts surrounding each bill.

See an example analysis of the soda tax bill here.

To learn more about future coverage of the soda tax, as well as minute-to-minute coverage and analysis on all things affecting policy in California, visit


Content produced outside of the POLITICO Pro newsroom.

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