NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven Mayor Toni Harp is calling for a new state tax of 2% on sugary drinks in attempts to reduce obesity.
“We discovered in New Haven that there is a certain neighborhood, and it would probably translate across the whole city, 70% of the adults are either overweight or obese, and 50% of the children,” she said.
Mayor Harp says she is particularly alarmed by the spike in young children developing Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity.
“Also obesity is connected to cancer, heart disease. These are things that are preventable if we don’t drink sugary drinks, if we watch what we eat,” she said.
The money from the tax would help support healthy eating.
“That people have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. As you know they’re very expensive, particularly in the wintertime. It would go to nutritional education and it would go to recreational activities,” said Mayor Toni Harp.
When learning that some of the money would go to food banks, the reaction on the street in New Haven was mixed.
“People who abuse soda get fat. No tax on soda. They tax us enough,” said Percy Penn.
“It’s bad enough cans are more than a dollar a can. I don’t think they should put a tax up there man,” said Sidney Smith.
“No. It’s like saying spoons make people fat. It’s ridiculous,” said Anessa Jackson.
“Well, if it makes people fat, you know what I mean? I think there should be a tax on anything that’s bad for people. It will make them not buy it at least, right?” said Edward Vaugh.
“When you think about the super-sizing of some of these sugary drinks, it’s really more sugar than the body can accommodate. We did the same thing for cigarettes, I think we’re all better off because of it,” said Mayor Harp.
Does this sound reminiscent of the large soda ban former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got laughed at for trying?
“Well, you , I think it’s important that we think about it, and even when the comedians talked about it, it made us think about it,” said Mayor Harp.