Cities pass taxes on sugary drinks, advocates predict more

Soda tax graphic

According to the Washington Times, the penny-per-ounce taxes in the three San Francisco Bay Area cities will apply to energy, sweetened tea and sports drinks, but not to diet sodas or naturally sweetened drinks.

Residents of Boulder, Colorado, and Californians who live in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany will vote on ballot measures calling for a new tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Before this week, such taxes were only on the books in Berkeley, which previous year became the first city in the implement a soda tax, and Philadelphia, which passed its tax law in June.

"I think they see this as very important for their future, and they are trying to make it clear to other cities and other states that might consider similar types of taxes that they are going to fight hard", McDaniel said. The campaigns had financial backing from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who tried unsuccessfully to limit the size of sugary drinks as mayor of NY. "Big Soda" - a bout that resulted in the industry's first loss at the ballot, compared with more than 40 defeated drink taxes. But she concedes that finding out whether soda taxes really contribute to a long-term decline in obesity will require research over a longer timeframe. The same amount would be levied under San Francisco and Albany's proposals, according to the local governments in San Francisco and in Albany.

In Oakland, supporters of the measure raised and spent $6.8 million through October 22, according to city records. New soda tax efforts are under way in Cook County, Ill., and some other areas, as well as in several countries around the world.

Prior to the votes on Tuesday, Philadelphia and Berkeley, California, were the only US cities to have similar measures on the books.

Taxes on "sugary" beverages were approved by voters San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif.

The American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown noted that this move to increase tax on sugary drinks is a big win for public health and congratulated the voters for not believing in the huge spending and false arguments on soft drinks.

Earlier this week, Kenney's administration hired four staff members for his ReBuild Philadelphia program, which will be funded by the sweetened beverage tax and spend the next six years improving the city's infrastructure.

Each of the city soda taxes faces staunch opposition from the beverage industry, including the American Beverage Association, which felt the taxes unfairly targeted the drinks.

"This is an astonishing repudiation of big soda", Jim Krieger, the executive director of Healthy Food America, told Vox Tuesday. And adding a small tax to the sales of sugary drinks has proved effective in lowering consumption by 20 percent.

He said that preliminary data suggested that rates dropped even further during the second year after the tax was imposed.

"They just found that folks would just find other ways to get the products or nutrients they wanted", said William Dermody, a spokesman for the association, regarding studies that found soda taxes in Europe and United States don't work.