NACS Daily News
The penny-per-beverage tax would apply to soft drinks and beverages with added sugar, although diet soft drinks and most juices would be exempt.
SAN FRANCISCO – Voters in the town of Richmond, California, will get their chance to decide whether sugary beverages get slapped with a higher tax.
The Nov. 6 ballot measure will decide whether the city imposes “what could be the nation’s first municipal tax on soda and other sugary beverages — a penny-per-ounce surcharge intended to fight childhood obesity,” writes the San Francisco Chronicle. The tax would apply to soft drinks as well as Snapple and other beverages with added sugar. Most juice would be exempt, as would diet soft drinks.
City council voted 5 to 2 last week to approve the ballot measure. And some councilmembers were not without an opinion: “Even a Twinkie has some nutritional value. But soft drinks have none. They’re poisonous,” said councilman Jeff Ritterman, a Richmond doctor who proposed the measure. “I think other cities are going to follow our lead.”
Councilmen Corky Boozé and Nathaniel Bates offered the two dissenting votes, noting that the tax would fall disproportionately on Richmond merchants and low-income residents.
Richmond resident Rosa Lara, who delivered 900 signatures to the council opposing the measure, suggested that physical activity — not more taxes — would be a better solution to problems associated with obesity.
“People are already struggling to pay their bills,” she told the newspaper, adding, “If the city really wants to fight obesity, why not make the streets safer so kids can play outside?”
The February NACS Magazine featured a cover story on how the food police — public interest groups and state and national government — are actively pursuing programs and policy to make it criminal (or at least more difficult) to sell certain products in your stores.