The bill passed the committee stage last week, but now only proposes a levy on carbonated drinks.
The draft legislation brought by New Haven State representative Juan Candelaria had proposed a 1% per ounce levy on carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks and candies that are high in calories and sugar.
Candelaria hopes the proceeds will pay for public education and outreach programs on obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
The State of Connecticut’s Committee on Children approved the bill for fizzy drinks but ditched the proposed levy on candy.
Stephen Ryan, executive director of the New England Convenience Store Association, said in written testimony that a candy and beverage tax would up consumer prices as much as 50% hitting lower-income households hardest.
“A new food and beverage tax will hurt consumers and retailers. Connecticut retailers will likely lose significant food and beverage sales to retailers in neighboring states.”
The Connecticut Food Association called the proposed bill “nanny-state legislation” and said obesity should be addressed through education, diet change and exercise.
The American Heart Association and the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center said a tax on soft drinks would help to curb obesity. Almost 32% of US children are overweight and 12.7m of those are obese.
Connecticut’s Commission on Children also supports the bill and says a 1% levy per ounce would likely lead to a 15-20% increase in price and a 15-20% drop in consumption.
States such as Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia, and West Virginia impose levies on soft drinks, but few have an ‘obesity tax’ on candy. The state of Colorado has a 2.9% sales tax on candy. Sugar taxes, which impact sugar-containing products like confectionery, exist in a small number of European countries such as Hungary.