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How sugar-sweetened beverage tax revenues are being used in the United States.

  • Author(s): Krieger, James;
  • Magee, Kiran;
  • Hennings, Tayler;
  • Schoof, John;
  • Madsen, Kristine A
  • et al.
Abstract

We sought to describe how revenues from sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) excise taxes in 7 U.S. cities are being allocated, who is benefiting from these investments, and whether allocations are consistent with the original intent of tax legislation. We collected information from public documents and key informants about allocations in the most recent fiscal year available (ranging from 2018 to 2021). Across the 7 U.S. cities with taxes, the average annual revenue from SSB taxes totaled $133.9 M. In the fiscal year studied, cities allocated a total of $133.2 M in SSB tax revenues. Human and community capital investments totaled $89.6 M (67% of all allocations) funding early childhood development, community infrastructure improvements, and youth and workforce development. Health-related investments totaled $36.9 M (28% of total allocations), funding access to healthy foods and beverages; support for physical activity opportunities; promotion of overall physical, mental or social health and wellbeing; health and nutrition education; chronic-disease prevention and management; and reducing SSB consumption. In the 3 cities that specified how tax revenues would be spent, allocations were consistent with promised uses of revenues. In addition, 85% of aggregated revenues ($112.9 M) were targeted to support work and programs in impacted communities (communities that experience health inequities, discrimination and exclusion). SSB tax revenues are supporting initiatives to improve community health, develop human and community capital, and advance equity. These investments may yield additional health benefits beyond those resulting from lower SSB consumption. Consistent tracking and public reporting on revenue allocations would increase transparency and accountability.

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