Assessing Legislative Interest for a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax in a Midwestern State
Keywords:public policy, beverages, sweetening agents, taxes, legislation
BACKGROUND: This study sought to ascertain the opinions of members of the Kansas Legislature regarding pending sugar-sweetened beverage taxation legislation, including perceptions that such a tax would generate revenue or be associated with personal sugar-sweetened beverage consumption habits. METHODS: This study utilized a cross-sectional survey design and was conducted by administering an electronic or telephone survey of the 2010-2011 Kansas Legislature. Publicly-listed contact information for the 165 members in both chambers of the 2010-2011 Kansas Legislature was obtained. State legislators were invited via e-mail, telephone, or both to complete the survey. The main outcome measure was the degree of agreement or disagreement with the idea of sugar-sweetened beverage taxation. RESULTS: Seventy-eight legislators (47.3%) responded. Of these, 90.5% disagreed or strongly disagreed with taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages, and 86.5% disagreed or strongly disagreed with taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages if generated funds were set aside to subsidize healthy choices. Party affiliation, geographic area represented, and personal consumption of sugar-sweetened behaviors were not associated significantly with legislators’ opinions of sugar-sweetened beverage taxation. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of respondents in the Kansas Legislature reported opposing a sugar-sweetened beverage tax. While some respondents identified obesity as a problem, taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages was not a favorable option among Kansas legislators.
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