The soda industry’s deep pockets are a well-known hurdle to taxing sugar-sweetened beverages, but our new analysis suggests the industry may be directing significant amounts of money to an unexpected faction of the California Legislature: its all-Democratic Latino Caucus. Soda Industry Contributions:Current members of the Latino Caucus make up less than 23 percent of the California Legislature but received 42 percent of soda industry contributions during the 2015 election cycle.The soda industry gave, on average, nearly twice as much money to members of the Latino Caucus ($5,198) than the average member of the State Legislature ($2,770) in the 2015 election cycle.Four of the top five recipients of soda industry contributions are members of the Latino Caucus. They received a total of $63,697 from the soda industry in the 2015 election cycle.Although voters in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany approved measures in November to tax sugar-sweetened beverages, many of the state’s elected officials don’t appear to share their enthusiasm. At least five bills to tax sugary beverages have been scrapped by state legislators since 2002. The most recent bill to receive a vote was introduced in the California Assembly in 2015 by Reps. Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica; David Chiu, D-San Francisco;… Read full this story
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