The swirling force of Texas politics

Soda Tax Proposal Leaves Bad Taste in Some Mouths

Brownsville state senator proposes 1-penny-per-ounce tax

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Tuesday, Mar 1, 2011  |  Updated 11:48 PM CDT
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Ellen Goldberg, NBCDFW.com

Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that would enact 1-penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

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Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that could burst soda lovers' bubbles.

The measure would enact 1-penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in grocery and retail stores.

The so-called soda tax would raise the price of a 20-ounce soda by 20 cents, and increase the cost of a 12-pack by $1.44.

The bill proposed by State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, is designed to boost the state's sagging treasury while trimming waistlines.

"I think that's going toward Big Brother," Dallas shopper Cindi Stewart said.

The bill is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many Texans -- and public watchdog groups.

"The government has no right to tell us what to eat or drink or to tell us how much we can weigh, frankly," said J. Justin Wilson, senior research analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom. "It's not the government's business, so I wish the government would butt out."

According to the bill, the tax would apply to beverages sweetened with both real and artificial sugar, so diet sodas also would be taxed.

But history is not on the measure's side. Most attempts at soda taxes in other states have fizzled.

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