Bonta Statement on AB 1838 Vote
I am pained, saddened and disgusted. With today’s vote, we are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. We have averted disaster that could have devastated our public safety services, our schools, our affordable housing, our programs for children, our transportation infrastructure, our libraries, and more— all across the state. With the removal of the devious and dangerous so-called “Tax Fairness, Transparency and Accountability Act of 2018” from the statewide ballot this November— which would have required local communities to meet a 2/3 vote rather than a simple majority threshold to pass a local tax it desired— all these things that we hold dear will be protected and not undemocratically subjected to the whims of a super-minority of voters.
This is for the greater good. But it’s not in any way how policy should be crafted for Californians. Clearly, our statewide initiative process is in desperate need of reform.
While today’s legislation importantly preserves all four of California’s local soda taxes in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and Albany, we urgently need a statewide solution to the statewide epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay that sugary beverages are helping fuel in California. ALL children in California— not just those living in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Albany— deserve a pathway to a healthier life and away from diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay. The temporary pause on further local soda taxes will allow us to work at the state level on a more comprehensive approach.
My AB 1335– which will require that safety warnings be provided statewide on sugary-sweetened beverages— is an important part of this solution. It recently moved through the Senate Health Committee and is on to the next step in the legislative process.
I look forward to our ongoing work together to strengthen and improve the health of our communities!