Stand Up to Big Soda: Give the Power Back to Communities to Invest in Health

As communities across the state are reeling from the devastating impacts of COVID on health and economies, they should be able to make the best choice for themselves on how to raise revenues and protect health in their communities.

But Big Soda companies took that choice away from cities. In 2018, the Legislature imposed a statewide ban on soda taxes, that meant no California local governments could pass sugary drink taxes through 2030. The ban was driven by pressure from Big Soda, special interests and business groups—preventing local communities from deciding for themselves if a soda tax was right for them.

AB 1163, introduced by Assemblymember Nazarian, would restore the right of cities and counties to have the option to pass sugary drink taxes, a critical tool for communities to invest in public health and equity. Right now, AB 1163 is sitting in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, but a date has not been set for a hearing and time is running out.

Act now: Email committee members and ask them to support AB 1163 and schedule a hearing


Especially in the wake of COVID-19, our communities need every tool in their toolbox to improve public health and raise revenue. Residents of Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland and Albany voted to enact sugary drink taxes—and across all four cities, millions of dollars in revenue from these taxes are funding a variety of programs in schools and communities, while also reducing sugar intake.

Sugary drinks are the top source of added sugar in our diet, and research shows almost half of the extra calories consumed are from sugary drinks. Soda consumption is tied to increased risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease and other chronic diseases. Big Soda utilizes exploitative and regressive business tactics, spending millions each year to specifically market to communities of color—shouldn’t California cities have the right to decide for themselves if a soda tax works for them?

Call Assemblymember Autumn Burke, Chair of the Revenue and Taxation Committee

Contact Assemblymember Autumn Burke, Chair of the Revenue and Taxation Committee
(310) 412-6400 Inglewood or (916) 319-2062 Sacramento

Sample script:

Hello, my name is [your name]. I live in [your town]. I would like Assemblymember Burke to request that AB 1163 be heard in her Revenue & Tax Committee and that she vote “yes” for the bill.

AB 1163 is Mr. Nazarian’s bill to stop Big Soda from taking our community’s power away by repealing the statewide ban on my town’s ability to decide whether or not we want a local soda tax. It is another example of how corporations harm democracy and block our communities from solving our own health equity challenges. I urge Chair Burke to act for the people and support an end to the ban that Big Soda forced on our state. I ask Ms. Burke to vigorously supporting AB 1163. Thank you!

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The last few years have been immensely challenging for communities around the globe—in some cases, setting back public health gains by years or decades. But these last few years have also demonstrated what works: Sustained investments in communities, health and equity, and policy change to support them. Now is the time to strengthen these successes, to ensure that no community falls behind.

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