Vermont House Panel Passes Beverage Tax

Feb 27, 2013

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A Vermont House committee has reversed itself and approved a penny-an-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to pay for health care subsidies, but the idea still appears to have a bumpy road ahead.

The House Health Care Committee had defeated the measure on a 5-5 tie vote on Friday. But on Wednesday, the panel voted in two 7-4 tallies to advance the measure.

Supporters say the $24 million the tax will raise will help smooth the transition for people changing from state-subsidized health insurance programs including the Vermont Health Access Plan and Catamount Health to insurance to be purchased under the exchange being set up to comply with the federal health overhaul law.

But the sugary beverage tax lacks support in another key House committee and Governor Peter Shumlin opposes it.

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