Let Mass. Be The First State To Tax Sugary Drinks

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Progressive public health is in our DNA.

Right now, Massachusetts has the opportunity to become the first state in the nation to pass a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages — sodas, “sports” drinks, fruit drinks and other drinks with added sugar — and get a two-fer: funds to help our struggling budget and a huge boon to public health. It’s estimated that in year one, over $350 million could be raised by the tax, funds that could be used to fix water fountains in schools, refurbish playgrounds and create the infrastructure every community needs to live healthy lives.

Several cities have passed sugary beverage taxes in the past few years — Philadelphia, Boulder, San Francisco, Seattle — and the results have been remarkable. There have been measurable drops in the consumption of sugary drinks, a corresponding increase in water consumption as well as a pool of tax dollars available for further public health measures.

Are sugar-sweetened beverages such villains? Probably. Research shows that over-consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is an overwhelming contributor to costly and preventable health challenges in our state: Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and dental cavities among them. At the same time, Massachusetts faces a massive shortfall in funding needed for our drinking water infrastructure. In a January 2017

At the same time, Massachusetts faces a massive shortfall in funding needed for our drinking water infrastructure. In a January 2017 report, the state auditor found that local governments will need over $7 billion to address safe drinking water needs in Massachusetts. We ask our governor and legislators to connect the dots: Addressing the first issue can help solve the second.

We ask our governor and legislators to connect the dots: Addressing the first issue can help solve the second.

When you teach children about the harms of drinking sugary beverages and the advantages of…

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