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Posted: Thursday, January 24th, 2013 9:18 AM HST

Hawaii senators propose tax on sugary drinks

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Four Hawaii senators are proposing a statewide tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The Democratic senators say that the consumption of sugary drinks contributes to obesity. Hawaii ranks second-to-last for adult obesity compared to other states.

The senators want to charge 1 cent per teaspoon of sugar in each drink and use the revenue to fund community health centers and help trauma victims. They say the tax would translate to about 10 cents per 12-ounce soda.

Hawaii House Majority Leader Scott Saiki says he isn't sure the bill will find support in the House. He says that while sugary drinks carry health risks, the House will be cautious about enacting broad-based taxes this session.

Hawaii Senate President Donna Kim called for no new taxes during the legislative opening ceremony last week.

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