The moratorium on soda taxes puts California on the right track

California recently banned future local soda taxes until 2031 as part of a compromise bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Places like Berkeley and Oakland, where taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages already are in place, can keep them, but other cities and counties cannot enact new ones.

Public health groups immediately began complaining that the move prevents local governments from “nudging” low-income people towards healthier lifestyles by raising the price of a major source of sugar. Such arguments, however, substitute short-sighted thinking for more thoughtful consideration. Soda taxes hurt the very people they are meant to help and aren’t effective in reducing obesity, Type 2 diabetes, or any other public health problem.

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