Connecticut Rep. DeLauro Working on Soda Tax

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3rd District)

We’ve heard from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. We’ve heard from California State Sen. Bill Monning. Now, meet the next face of soda tax legislation: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3rd District).

While not present at the recent National Soda Summit in Washington D.C., held by The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health advocacy group, DeLauro shared a video with the audience that notes she’s working on legislation to tax beverages with added sugar. She hopes to introduce the legislation “in a matter of weeks.”

“It is long past time that we pass and support policies that work toward better health instead,” she says in the video. “With that in mind, I am working on legislation right now to tax sugar sweetened drinks like sodas in a way that reflects the serious damage they are doing to our health.”

In the video, DeLauro says that sugar is a key culprit when it comes to obesity in the U.S. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar per day for women and no more than nine teaspoons per day for men, she says, yet the national average is 23 teaspoons per day. Such high sugar intake could lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and gout, among other ailments, she says.

“Added sugar is pervasive,” she says, “and almost inescapable at the supermarket.”

Products with added sugar are often the easiest purchase for families living on the edge of poverty, she says. For example, a 2-liter cola costs $0.99 and blueberries go for $3. DeLauro pointed out that sugar intake isn’t just the work of a free market, but is often a direct result of government policy.

In a few weeks, DeLauro may have some new policy of her own.