Quinata introduces bill taxing sugar sweetened beverages, fighting obesity

Democrat Sen. Roy Quinata talks with the Pacific News Center on April 26 at the Guam Congress Building in Hagatna. Photo by PNC's Isaiah Aguon

Bill 118-37 seeks to tax sugar sweetened beverages to help fight obesity and noncommunicable diseases.

What would this proposed tax mean for the people of Guam?

Bill 118-37, introduced by Democrat Sen. Roy Quinata, aims to attack obesity and noncommunicable diseases on two fronts.

If enacted, the first part of the measure would tax sweetened beverages in order to discourage their purchase and curb the selection of healthier alternatives.

The rates collected for the “Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax” would be:

Two cents ($0.02) per ounce to all premixed sweetened beverages that are manufactured or imported for sale in Guam.

Powder products will be taxed according to the total amount of liquid product it produces. For example, for a powder can that has 94, 12-ounce servings the tax would be $22.56 per can.

As well as a three-point five cent ($0.035) per ounce of syrup or concentrate on all containers.

The second part of the Bill would use said tax revenues to invest and support school and village sports facilities upkeep and repairs across the island.

A Guam Sports Facilities Fund would be created to be used by the Guam Department of Education and the Mayor’s Council for the repair and improvement of recreation and sport facilities.

According to the measure, dedicating funds to these facilities would have a “substantial effect on the health of citizens”

The document states that there are other countries and cities across the U.S. that have implemented a successful sugary drink tax.

For example, the Philippines has a SSB of 11 cents per liter and Mexico taxes 1 peso per liter.

Albany, Seattle, Boulder, and Philadelphia have also implemented tax on sugary drinks at 1 cent or more per fluid ounce.