Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia on Friday announced a plan to apply sales taxes on candy in California, an idea that was rejected at the ballot box in 1992.
Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, has already introduced legislation to lift taxes on feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads, arguing the fees burden women who have little choice in making those purchases.
In pushing for that bill, Garcia and allies have argued that California’s tax code already exempts many products, including yoga classes, farm equipment, medication – and candy. Now she wants to reimpose a sales tax on sweet treats and snack food. A handful of assembly members are proposing a sales tax on candy and snack food, claiming it would reduce obesity and generate nearly a billion dollars in revenue per year. Supporters suggest that by not taxing candy, the state is a de facto enabler of childhood obesity, diabetes and dental decay.
“We’ve seen the results of the explosion of snack food consumption on our society and the negative health repercussions,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, D- Bell Gardens. “Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, tooth decay, these and so many other conditions are a directly attributable to the poor modern diet made up of high calorie, ultra-processed foods.”
Garcia says, in 1992, fueled by a multi-million dollar campaign paid for by food manufacturers and industry organizations, California passed Proposition 163 repealing the imposition of a tax on candy, chips, snack cakes and other processed snack items.
Garcia stated that much has changed in the past 24 years, where fatty, high sugar, high fat snacks are no longer considered essential, especially to poorer communities, as was argued by the snack food industry in 1992. In order to pass the tax legislation, the measure would need a two-thirds vote in the legislature and by voters. A similar effort failed in 1992.