Bloated soda tax caves in

WASHINGTON Lobbying by the American Beverage Association has squashed state government plans to put the much-debated soda tax into action, according to published reports.

Earlier this year, soda tax legislation was advocated in several areas across the country, as obesity rates skyrocketed over the past decade and state governments saw it as a solution to offset the statistic, as well as its own financial burdens brought on by the recession. Thanks to industry lobbying, however, the idea has faced backlash, causing government officials that supported the tax to back down and look for alternative solutions. States including Mississippi, New Mexico and New York, since have scrapped their soda tax legislations.

One commercial that hit New York airwaves said that Gov. David Paterson's statewide soda tax would affect families. The commercial proved that the beverage industry is a force to be reckoned with.

According to a study published in Health Affairs, excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages would have no noticeable impact on obesity. This idea has been advocated by lobbyists, saying that there are other ways to curb obesity in the United States.

"The effectiveness of a soft drink tax, if anything, would be trivial," said ABA president and CEO Susan Neely. "A tax doesn't even qualify as a good start to addressing the rising rates of obesity. We need to move beyond these simplistic ideas and pursue comprehensive, meaningful solutions from all aspects of society if we're really going to reverse childhood obesity. Our industry is certainly stepping up to do its part."

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