OPHA Health Policy & Advocacy Committee


House Bill 2644:  Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Sales Tax

Sponsored by:  Representative Mitch Greenlick (D - Portland)



Died in committee


House bill 2644 Imposes excise tax on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages and concentrates in the state of Oregon.  This tax would bring in approximately 100 million dollars annually with the tax being set at a rate of $0.005 per ounce ($.06 cents per can of soda). This bill establishes a Health Promotion Fund to support programs designed to reduce and prevent obesity.  The bill will transfers proceeds of tax to this Health Promotion Fund as well as to the Department of Human Services, Department of Education, and the General Fund. These funds would then allocate spending to provide physical education teachers in our public schools, farm-to-school programs, food vouchers for WIC clients, and educational programs aimed at obesity reduction and prevention.   

Public Health Background

Obesity rates amongst our children are on the rise and we need to take more aggressive easures to start reducing them.  There are some startling statistics behind this epidemic. Per the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), among pre-school age children 2-5 years of age, obesity increased from 5 to 10.4% between 2007-2008, and from 6.5 to 19.6% among 6-11 year olds. Among adolescents aged 12-19, obesity increased from 5 to 18.1% during the same period.  Childhood obesity is also among the top indicators for chronic illnesses in adults, such as Type II Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, Hypertension, and High Cholesterol to name a few.  These illnesses cost the state billions to treat each year. 

Public Health Benefits

HB 2644 would provide funding to more aggressively educate our children on the benefits of consuming healthy foods and beverages, provide assistance in initiating more farm-to-school programs, and place more physical education teachers in our schools - all of which will assist in the fight to decrease obesity.  This bill not only funds the programs needed to decrease/prevent obesity, but also can potentially indirectly reduce obesity by decreasing the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages consumers buy.

Key Points

Enhances Health Promotion efforts by funding anti-obesity education and programs

Supports placing Physical Education teachers back in our schools

Funds Farm-to-School Programs that increases healthy foods kids eat in school

Provides healthy food vouchers to low income families

May decrease sugar-sweetened beverage intake, thus assist with decreasing obesity

Key Supporters

Upstream Public Health

The Oregon Health Division