From the man who’s looking to add additional taxes on cigarettes and took doughnuts away from city employees comes the latest in public health legislation–a tax on sodas. Newsom has seen anti-tobacco pave the way, and is ready to bring the fight to Big Soda.
To tax individual cans of soda Newsom would need voter approval, but to tax retailers he only needs approval from the Board of Supervisors. Therefore his legislation will affect retailers and not restaurants.
Mr. Newsom first proposed the tax in 2007, but has grown increasingly concerned about our health, and soda’s affect upon it, after reading a survey on obesity from UCLA.
A small tax levied against retailers probably wouldn’t curb the consumption of soda, which would still remain relatively cheap. What it might do is fill the depleted city coffers just a little more. At least, until the City Attorney’s prediction comes true and Newsom is sued over the matter. Though in his characteristic brazenness, Newsom called a lawsuit a worthy risk in curbing a leading cause of obesity and diabetes.
Jim Lazarus, vice president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce opposes the idea. He told reporters “does this mean there’s a fee on candy bars, on ice cream, on potato chips? Where do you draw the line?” Yeah, Gav, where? And for the matter, where is the fine print to differentiate between diet soda, cane sugar root beers, and those fizzy, Japanese fruit drinks I see in convenience stores?