Bill would tax soda to fund Neb. health programs

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The beverage industry and health activists went head-to-head debating whether to tax soda to support health programs.

Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery pitched his proposal on Friday and asked the Legislature's Revenue Committee to include his bill in a tax commission study.

Avery says Nebraska should tax soda even though the state doesn't tax groceries. He says the bill is an effort to reduce childhood obesity by providing about $11 million for health programs annually.

Schools and health programs supported the bill, saying the extra funding could greatly help health initiatives that are already working. The Nebraska Beverage Association and Nebraska Grocery Association opposed the bill.

Senators also discussed Friday creating a tax commission, which would allow lawmakers to research state tax laws and recommend updates.

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The bill is LB447.

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