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Proposed Illinois tax on soft drinks may fizzle

SPRINGFIELD — A legislative effort to tax soft drinks in order to promote healthy living may be falling flat in Springfield.

The (Belleville) News-Democrat reports the effort introduced by Illinois Representative Robyn Gabel (D-18th) and Senator Mattie Hunter (D-3rd) remains in committee. But they haven’t been called for any hearings.

Timothy Bramlet is executive director of the Illinois Beverage Association. He says he believes means the measures are “effectively dead.”

The legislation adds a penny-per-ounce surcharge on sugary drinks that are sold in sealed containers. That means a 12-ounce can of soda would cost another 12 more cents while a twelve-pack would increase by $1.44.

Money generated from the levy — as much as $600 million by some estimates — would be used to pay for Medicaid programs and a variety of health services and educational efforts.