“Subverting the Democratic Process”: PHI Statement on California Bill to Preempt Local Measures
STATEMENT BY MATTHEW MARSOM, VICE PRESIDENT FOR PUBLIC POLICY AND PROGRAMS
The Public Health Institute is strongly opposed to California Senate Bill (SB) 872, a budget trailer bill that would prevent California residents from passing laws in their cities and counties to tax sugar sweetened beverages, eliminating one of the most powerful tools available to protect the health of their communities.
Residents have passed sugar-sweetened taxes for a reason. They are popular, and they are working. Big Beverage can’t win on the votes or the evidence, so they are subverting the democratic process to protect themselves.
SB 872 was negotiated to replace an industry-backed ballot proposal that would increase the voting threshold for passing new local taxes. But SB 872 is as bad as the ballot proposal it’s meant to bump. This backroom deal, released over the weekend and set to be decided in just four days, is a tactic to protect corporate profits at the expense of the health and will of the people.
PHI urges the legislature to reject SB 872 and allow local residents to vote for what’s best for their communities, instead of having big business decide it for them.