Tax proposed for sugar-sweetened drinks sold on Guam
Updated: May 18
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Citing a study related to the prevalence of non-communicable diseases on Guam, Sen. Roy Quinata introduced a bill proposing a tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages that are sold in retail outlets.
Under Bill 118-37, tax rates would be levied based on the product type.
A 2-cent per ounce tax would apply to all premixed sweetened beverages that are manufactured or imported for sale on Guam.
Powder products will be taxed according to the total amount of liquid product it produces. For instance, a can that has 94oz or 12oz servings, based on the manufacturer label, would be taxed $22.56 per can.
A 35-cent per ounce would be levied on syrup or concentrate on all containers.
The bill would create a new special fund that would split the revenue between sports facilities maintained by the Guam Department of Education and those maintained by villages. These facilities, Quinata said, are too costly to maintain.
“Sports facilities are often neglected when it comes to funding for maintenance and repairs," he said. "This bill will provide much-needed funds for these important facilities so that they can continue to operate safely and efficiently.”
Quinata said he expects the new investment to create potential jobs" while providing safer environments for athletes and fans alike."
"This legislation is just one step toward creating a healthier future for all residents of Guam by reducing reliance on sugary drinks while investing in necessary infrastructure improvements throughout all sports facilities on island," Quinata said.
The bill was prompted by a presentation from the University of Guam's Master of Public Administration Practicum, in which they shared their research findings on sugar-sweetened beverages consumption on Guam, its impact on Guam's growing issue with non-communicable diseases, and discussed potential policy solutions for the community.
"Although any tax increase proposal is an unpopular idea, the policy solution proposed is a necessary act the island must take to better serve the community for the better," the bill states.
Quinata stressed on the importance of encouraging a healthier lifestyle to all residents, from the younger generation to the elderly.
Supporting the island's sports facilities, according to the bill, would attack obesity and noncommunicable diseases on two fronts.
"The first would be to curb the purchase of beverages that have added sugar or sweetener for more healthier alternatives and the second would be to provide a safe facility at schools and within the villages that would encourage people to exert energy by participating in sports and exercise," the bill states.