The governor's distaste for new taxes has not put a cork in the enthusiasm of those who back a tax on sugary drinks in Illinois. A bill for a penny-per-ounce tax, with the proceeds to fund public health and anti-obesity efforts, is again in the Illinois General Assembly. It fizzled out last year. “Consumers want government to stay out of their grocery cart,” says Jim Soreng, executive director of the Illinois Beverage Association, adding that his constituents account for tens of thousands of jobs and that they do provide nutrition information.
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“The beverages such as sodas and fruit drinks that our folks sell and produce account for only an average of six percent of the daily caloric intake.”
“The costs of obesity and chronic disease are a huge burden,” says Elissa Bassler, executive director of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity, estimating “approximately $6 billion in Illinois.”