Voters in Berkeley, Calif., adopt country's first soda tax

A soda tax won majority support in neighboring San Francisco but fell short of the two-thirds required for passage.
By Frances Burns   |   Nov. 5, 2014 at 7:57 AM

BERKELEY, Calif., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Berkeley, Calif., a city long known for its liberal residents, has become the first in the United States to adopt a tax on soda.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the tax in a referendum Tuesday.

Across the bay in San Francisco, a 55 percent majority of voters approved a similar tax. But the referendum failed because it needed to win a two-thirds majority.

The American Beverage Association and other lobbyists spent more than $2 million in Berkeley. But in the end about three-quarters of the vote supported Measure D.

Supporters of the tax say high-calorie sodas bear much of the blame for the epidemic of obesity in the United States and the increase in diabetes.

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