Sweet Talk: Supe Wiener To Propose Surcharge For All Sodas Sold In SF

Sodas and other sugary beverages could get more expensive in San Francisco under a tax being proposed by a city supervisor.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener plans to propose a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages that have at least 25 calories per 12 ounces.

The proposal would go on the November 2014 ballot to be decided by the city’s voters. It would require two-thirds approval to pass.

The tax is estimated to generate $31 million in revenue, which would be used to fund recreation and nutrition programs in the city’s schools and parks, according to Wiener’s office.

The supervisor said in a statement that he decided to introduce the legislation after speaking with health researchers and advocates about the widespread problems of obesity and diabetes.

“We are experiencing an epidemic of health problems caused by sugary beverages,” Wiener said. “We have a responsibility to act to confront this escalating public health challenge.”

Wiener’s office estimates that even a one-cent-per-ounce tax could cut consumption of the sugary drinks by up to 10 percent, and that the tax would also lead to reduced costs in treating obesity or other related ailments.

The tax would not apply to diet soda, natural juices, milk, infant formula or medical drinks.

According to Wiener’s office, the idea of a sugary beverage tax has been endorsed by organizations such as the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and the San Francisco Medical Society.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • @Dissertates

    Nice idea. Though I can’t believe Airbnb transactions still aren’t taxed.

  • Adrian Johnson

    It’s interesting, considering that fruit juices, which are concentrated, have more sugar than soda in them, but we’re taxing soda. I thought sugar was the culprit in obesity?

  • Forthright

    Nanny Weiner on the prowl again, looking for ANYTHING that might raise his familiarity beyond the “nude ban”, but not looking for anything REAL to fix in the City. Keep fiddling, Weiner, keep fiddling

  • Forthright

    Nanny Weiner on the prowl again, looking for ANYTHING that might raise his familiarity beyond the “nude ban”, but not looking for anything REAL to fix in the City. Keep fiddling, Weiner, keep fiddling

  • SmurferDude

    Weiner is desperate for attention. He’s been suckling on the public teat for so long, he can’t let go.

    Just FYI Mr. Wiener: many companies don’t add sugar anymore; they add grape juice, which is basically the same and yet classifies as “fruit juice”. So how are you going to distinguish between “sugary” and “grape juiced” drinks??

  • BushyHyde

    This is a regressive tax. It will not effect the rich at all, an thus not modify their behavior. The poor and those trying to emulate a middle class lifestyle in San Francisco will however, face yet another barrier at surviving in this town. Yes soda is bad for you and people should drink less of it, but dammit those of us struggling in this town can just never catch a break. The politicians have to make it harder and harder to survive.

  • With two-thirds approval required it won’t pass anyway.

    If it *was* going to pass, though, the tax should be doubled for beverages using high-fructose corn syrup as their sweetener!

    The ones who really need to be penalized are the beverage companies peddling this unhealthy junk. That’s hard to do though without them just passing the costs on to consumers and blaming the big, bad government for forcing them to raise their prices.

    It’d also be nice to get better regulations on bottled water, since anything that’s bottled outside of California can be just packaged tap water. (If you buy bottled water, check the labels and avoid anything bottled outside of California.)