WASHINGTON (AP) - Thirsty for new sources of cash, health-conscious lawmakers in cities and states across the country are reaching for the refrigerator, proposing taxes on sports drinks, teas and soda.
Politicians say the taxes will help curb rates of obesity and diabetes and can pay for health programs. But retailers and the beverage industry say the taxes are unpopular, unfair and simply won't work.
In the last year, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have become the new cola crusaders, proposing taxes either to plug budget gaps or fund new programs.
Now the issue is in Washington. The District of Columbia Council is mulling extending the city's 6 percent sales tax to sodas and other sugary drinks. Lawmakers could vote on the issue next week.