Cathedral City, CA
A cold soda in Cathedral City may soon be more pricey. Cathedral City is considering implementing a tax on sugary beverages to fight childhood obesity.
"We’re really looking for this to be an opportunity to reduce the consumption of high sugar drinks," explained Councilmember Shelley Kaplan of Cathedral City.
A tax would make sugary drinks more expensive, but drinking soda is costly on its own.
"The first thing we looked at is 42% of the children in Cathedral City are considered obese. So we know that we’ve got a serious health problem in the city," Kaplan added.
However, Mark Carnevale, the owner of Nicolino’s Italian Resturant said a tax wouldn’t do much.
"It might help a little bit, but will it solve the problem? After you have your drink, you still have your plate, with your french fries, chips, brownies, cookies, cakes, and your ice cream," Carnevale said.
The tax would be a penny more per ounce, and the revenue would go towards recreational programs.
"It would generate some revenue stream for things like the senior center, programs for the Boys and Girls Club program," Kaplan said.
Kellsey Reed, a nutritionist at Eisenhower Medical Center, said a sugary drink tax could prevent serious weight related medical issues.
"By taking away that temptation, it could maybe increase the change of them choosing a healthier option like water or milk," Reed explained.
Even if the tax doesn’t happen, Nicolino’s Italian restaurant will still strive to be healthier.
"We have gluten free pastas now, gluten free pizzas, we’ve really noticed the trend of healthier eating, lighter sauces more chicken," Carnevale said.
Councilmember Kaplan said they also want to make water and milk the default drink option on kid’s menus. The tax proposal would first go on a ballot for residents to decide.