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AB-1163 Local government: taxation: prohibition: groceries. (2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/18/2021 09:00 PM

Revised  March 12, 2021


Assembly Bill
No. 1163

Introduced by Assembly Member Nazarian
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Bloom)
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Wood)
(Coauthor: Senator Wiener)

February 18, 2021

An act to repeal Chapter 1.8 (commencing with Section 7284.8) of Part 1.7 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, relating to taxation.


AB 1163, as introduced, Nazarian. Local government: taxation: prohibition: groceries.
Existing law authorizes counties, cities, and other local agencies to impose various taxes and fees in connection with activity or property within those jurisdictions. The California Constitution also authorizes a charter city to levy local taxes to raise revenues for local purposes, subject to restrictions imposed by that city’s charter or preemption in matters of statewide concern.
The Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law authorizes counties and cities to impose a local sales and use tax in accordance with that law for tangible personal property sold at retail in the county or city, or purchased for storage, use, or other consumption in the county or city. That law requires the county or city to contract with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration for the administration of the taxes and requires the department to transmit those taxes to the city or county.
Existing law, until January 1, 2031, prohibits the imposition, increase, levy and collection, or enforcement by a local agency of any tax, fee, or other assessment on groceries, except as provided, and allows a local agency to continue to levy and collect, enforce, or reauthorize any tax, fee, or other assessment on groceries imposed, extended, or increased on or before January 1, 2018. Existing law also requires the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to cease administering the Bradley-Burns local sales and use tax of a local agency that is found by a court, as provided, to have violated the grocery tax prohibition.
This bill would repeal the prohibition on the imposition, increase, levy and collection, or enforcement by a local agency of any tax, fee, or other assessment on groceries, including the requirement that the department cease administering a local sales and use tax.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Evidence linking the consumption of sugary drinks to the risk of diabetes and other metabolic dysfunction, heart disease, stroke, and tooth decay has been clearly established.
(b) According to nutritional experts, sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks offer little or no nutritional value, but contain massive quantities of added sugars. A 20-ounce bottle of soda contains the equivalent of approximately 16 teaspoons of sugar, yet the American Heart Association recommends that Americans consume no more than 5 to 9 teaspoons of sugar per day.
(c) Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have a higher prevalence of type II diabetes than non-Hispanic Whites. Hispanics and African Americans have roughly two times higher prevalence. For example, seven percent of non-Hispanic Whites have type II diabetes, compared with 12 percent of Hispanics. Nine percent of Asian Americans, 14 percent of Pacific Islanders, 13 percent of African Americans, and 17.5 percent of Native American and Alaska Native populations have type II diabetes. If trends are not reversed, it is predicted that 40 percent of Americans and nearly one-half of Latino and African American children born in the year 2000 will develop type II diabetes in their lifetimes.
(d) The very same Californians who are more likely to suffer from these preventable chronic diseases linked with overconsumption of sugary drinks, like hypertension and type II diabetes, are also more likely to have COVID-19 infections that result in hospitalization and even death.
(e) Research on sugary drink taxes has contributed to a now solid evidence base showing that these taxes can help lower the consumption of sugary drinks as well as generate revenue for cash-strapped local governments that can be invested equitably back into Black and Brown communities.
(f) The reduction of consumption of sugary drinks and the expected drop in rates of type II diabetes, fatty liver disease, heart disease, stroke, and obesity, especially among the populations most impacted by these diseases, can lower the cost of health care.
(g) Localities are hamstrung because of statewide preemption of local soda taxes to generate funding directed to community efforts to address community led and informed efforts to improve local health equity conditions directly impacted by the consumption of sugary drinks.
(h) California voters who passed soda taxes in their cities have improved the health of their residents and given their cities millions of dollars in revenue available to stave off budget cuts due to the COVID-19 induced economic downturn.
(i) Seattle, one of America’s two cities earliest and most impacted by COVID-19, is using a sugary drink tax right now to give $800 to over 6,000 of their residents to help infuse much needed resources into some of the most vulnerable communities in the city.
(j) Studies on the taxation of sugary drinks have estimated a 55 to 1 return on investment in health care savings. Governmental entities that have implemented a sugary drink tax have not seen negative impacts on food sector employment or revenue. Data from the City of Berkeley shows a 7.2 percent growth in food sector employment and a 15 percent growth in sales tax revenue following the implementation of a sugary drink tax in the city. Mexico and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have also found continued growth in the beverage sector employment subsequent to the tax implementation.
(k) California cities and counties need every single tool available to fight the devastating health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to give their residents the possibility of a healthier future.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 1.8 (commencing with Section 7284.8) of Part 1.7 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is repealed.

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