Cities in California, Colorado vote to tax sweetened soft drinks

“We have won a major victory for the health of our community and all our children,” one advocate said.
By Doug G. Ware   |   Nov. 9, 2016 at 3:16 PM
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SACRAMENTO, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Voters in California and Colorado voiced concern on Tuesday with what they view as an over-consumption of sugary soft drinks, by issuing a tax on them -- similar to deterrent taxes on cigarettes in some states.

Voters in Boulder, Colo., San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif., passed the soft drink tax. The excise tax in Boulder will be two cents per ounce, whereas in all three California cities it will be one-cent per ounce.

The taxes affect sugar-laden beverages like soda, sweetened teas and sports drinks.

"We have won a major victory for the health of our community and all our children," Angelique Espinoza, campaign manager of Healthy Boulder Kids, said Wednesday. "'Big Soda' pulled out all the stops in its effort to prevent the tax from being passed, but Boulder stood up for our kids."

Soft drinks and sodas are available in various sizes. For example, a 20-ounce Coca-Cola will cost 20 cents more when the tax takes effect. In Boulder, the same Coke will cost an extra 40 cents.

In the three Bay Area cities, the propositions won with more than 60 percent of the vote. In Boulder, about 55 percent voted for the tax, according to the latest figures.

A tax on sugary drinks in the Bay Area is nothing new. Berkeley, Calif., became the first city in the United States to levy such a tax in 2014. Philadelphia became the second in June. The issue has been proposed or discussed in many other cities nationwide, including in New York City,

"Not only does it signify the movement is gathering energy, but it also raises awareness," San Francisco Dr. John Maa said. "As we've seen in Berkeley, every time these efforts win, it leads to a reduction in soda consumption and, most importantly, it makes the general public aware of the health hazards of sugar-sweetened beverages."

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