California lawmakers have again introduced legislation to impose a fee on sodas and other sugary beverages -- not a true tax, but a "health impact fee" to be paid by beverage distributors.
Still, the presumption is that the two-cents-an-ounce fee -- 24 cents on a 12-ounce can of soda -- would be passed along to consumers, and, if passed, would raise $2 billion annually.
"That's real money," said the legislation's author, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica.
The revenue would go into a "Healthy California Fund," to be created by the bill. From there it would be spent on public health programs across the state, to fight obesity, diabetes and dental disease.
"It's not going to fix things overnight," Bloom said, "but as this money starts to flow ... that's going to have the effect, long term, of leading Californians to healthier lifestyles and also lower health costs."