Beverage Advocacy Group Decries Sugary Drink Fee As “taxes that raise the cost of living”

San Francisco supervisors today introduced a measure for the November ballot that would impose a 2 cents per ounce tax on sugary drinks sold in the city.

The proposal, sponsored by Supervisors Eric Mar, Scott Wiener, Malia Cohen, John Avalos and David Chiu, 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.

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.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • disqus_HuQAbAdytT

    Is there anything that the Supervisors don’t want to regulate? This is just another progressive attempt to move decision making from the individual to the government, because the proposers believe that individuals should have no freedom of choice, with the possible exception of having abortions that kill fetuses. At 2 cents per ounce, that would equal 24 cents for a 12 ounce can of soda.

    What about regulating the fat content in beef used for hamburgers? How about outlawing all foods that are not organic?

    Since this proposal appears to be aimed at the serious problem of childhood obesity, why not evaluate each student in terms of their (Federal) body mass index at the start of every school year. The names of the parents of students with BMIs indicating obesity could be passed along to the DA to pursue criminal child endangerment statutes. Prosecute the parents and incarcerate those found guilty!. Also, consider confiscating their cars (like DUI laws) if the cars were used in the commission of the crime of buying sugary drinks that contribute to child obesity.

    This is just another tax that will allow the supervisors to spend $30 MM per year on more government programs. How many of the supervisors would agree to this tax if it was required to be used to pay down San Francisco’s debt or actually repair some of the City’s crumbling roads?

    San Francisco has arrived at Orwell’s 1984.

    • Sooneridver

      Another would be to tax alcohol; beer, wine, liquor, etc! This extra money could be used to investigate the reasons behind the high number of homeless in San Francisco! It could be used to better support the building of high rise condo’s all around the city so people relocating can have a choice on where to live. (Ha Ha!)

  • Kristo Valle

    I agree that this does not help anything.

    • MaureenABA

      Agreed that this tax would most
      certainly not help anything. That’s why similar ballot measures
      in El Monte and Richmond have been soundly defeated. First and foremost,
      complex health conditions, such as obesity, stem from a number of factors and
      are not uniquely caused by beverage consumption. Among the risk factors we can
      control to achieve a healthy weight, balancing total calories consumed from all
      sources and countering this intake with physical activity is key. Education can
      help people adopt this holistic approach, whereas regulation will have no such
      effect on fundamentally changing behaviors in a meaningful and substantive way.

      – Maureen Beach, American Beverage Association

  • Sherman Lee

    More Happy Meal politics from the Board of Stupidvisors….
    Shame on you Scott, we expected so much more