EL MONTE, CA -- The El Monte City Council has voted unanimously to put a measure on the city ballot that will ask voters to impose a 1¢-per-fl.oz. tax on sugary drinks sold within the city.
City officials estimate the move could generate $3.5 to $7 million in revenue, while benefiting the community from a health and wellness standpoint. El Monte is facing a budget deficit that could negatively impact, among other things, its recreation programs.
Mayor Andre Quintero said El Monte residents are disproportionately feeling the impacts of drinking soda and juices, which he links to heart attacks, strokes and type 2 diabetes.
A report by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy found that 50.2% of El Monte's children have been classified as overweight or obese. The city ranks ninth highest in childhood obesity in the state, where the average is 38%.
CCPHA executive director Harold Goldstein claims sugary drinks are the leading contributors to the obesity epidemic. "One 20-[fl.oz.] soda is equal to 16 teaspoons of sugar," he said. "That's like drinking 22 packets of sugar in one glass. Studies suggest that as much as half of the obesity epidemic has come from consuming sugary drinks -- and that is having a devastating impact on the health of our communities," he said.