Sugary drinks tax proposed in San Francisco

A bill introduced Wednesday could tax sugary drinks two cents an ounce in San Francisco.
Posted By Caroline Lee  |  Oct. 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM
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(UPI) -- A bill set to be introduced Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco could put a tax on sugary drinks.

The legislation aims to curb obesity in the area, and would tax sugary drinks two cents per ounce. The tax would apply to any drink with added sugar that has more than 25 calories per 12-ounce serving, including drinks with fruit juice concentrates and high-fructose corn syrup.

San Francisco supervisor Scott Wiener will start to campaign today for the bill as he proposes it to the board of supervisors.

"We have taxed tobacco for a long time. We have taxed alcohol for a long time -- so it's not at all out of all the ordinary to tax products that have some negative side effects," Wiener said. He said he hopes to get it on the ballot next year, in either the June primary or the November general election.

Beverage companies have hired consulting firm BMWL to fight the tax should it take hold. The firm previously helped defeat a similar tax in Richmond.

"They simply have the effect of raising the cost of living on working people and on small businesses. They have no material effect on the ability of people to lead healthy lifestyles," said BMWL Spokesperson Chuck Finnie.

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