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Model California Ordinance Imposing a Business License Tax on Sales of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

A strategy to potentially reduce consumption of SSBs

Model Legal Document
Food & Beverages

Over the last thirty years, obesity and overweight rates have soared. More than two thirds of adults and nearly one third of youth aged two to nineteen years in the United States are overweight or obese. Research consistently shows that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is a contributing factor to high rates of overweight and obesity, as well as related chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. As communities work to reduce obesity and related chronic health conditions, they are exploring a range of programmatic and policy approaches to reduce SSB consumption.

This model legislation is intended to be used by public health advocates who would like to propose a local tax as one strategy to potentially reduce consumption of SSBs and raise revenue. It addresses the steps for passing a tax in a California city or county. While the Model Legislation is specific to California, the general principles discussed, as well as much of the specific language of the Model Legislation, are applicable to communities across the country. This model includes two sets of documents, one for a general business license tax and one for a special business license tax. We have also included model findings, which are appropriate for both the general and special tax measures.

Download the Model Ordinance below. Be sure to check out our other resources on regulating SSBs.