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February 10th, 2010:

The soda tax is dead. Long live Free Refills! [victory]

Coca-colaJust a few months ago it seemed like free refills were at risk.

The threat came in the form of a proposed soda tax. The tofu-and sushi types thought they had the votes in Congress to slap a cent-per-ounce tax on soft drinks and sugary beverages. And they thought the healthcare reform bill making its way through Congress was a great chance to get it done.

Never mind that soda accounts for just five percent of the calories the average American consumes, or that mixed greens are possibly a bigger health risk. The food police detest soda (they drink guava juice and herbal tea) and were eager to jump at any opportunity to tax it. So last year they mobilized, focusing their efforts first at the national level, and then at the state level.

If instituted, this tax would have not only increased the price of a 12-pack by a whopping 36 percent, but it also threatened the institution of free refills.

Fortunately, the scourge of the extremely regressive soda tax seems to have been defeated. The LA Times has a great write-up of how the American Beverage Association got the job done.

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