Soda Tax on Agenda in San Francisco

Measure would put 2-cent-per-ounce proposal before voters

Published in CSP Daily News

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday introduced a measure for the November ballot that would impose a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks sold in the city, according to a report from Bay City News. The proposal will need to be approved by a majority of the 11 supervisors to go on the Nov. 4 ballot. It would then need approval by two-thirds of voters and would fund recreation and nutrition programs in the city.

The supervisors last November announced two separate proposals for the tax but have since merged the two plans into one measure, saying it targets the problems of obesity, diabetes and other health issues caused by high consumptions of sugary drinks like sodas and energy drinks.

The tax, which is expected to bring in more than $30 million if approved, would be imposed on the initial distributor of the beverage and would also apply to sales of concentrate, such as powders that are mixed with liquid to produce a sugary drink.

A beverage industry advocacy group has already come out in opposition to the proposed tax and said voters in other cities have soundly rejected similar proposals, pointing to a 2012 measure by the East Bay city of Richmond, according to the report.

The industry group Californians for Food and Beverage Choice said in a statement, "Regressive beverage taxes that raise the cost of living for consumers and hurt local businesses are no way to improve community health."