San Francisco supervisor to introduce soda tax proposal

A can of soda could eventually cost about a quarter more in San Francisco.
October 29, 2013 12:28:04 AM PDT
A can of soda could eventually cost about a quarter more in San Francisco. A proposed measure would add a special tax to sugary beverages, but the proposal is different than a similar ballot measure that failed in Richmond last year.

The idea is simple -- the bigger the drink, the more taxes you pay. It would be 2 cents per ounce for all sugar-sweetened beverages. That includes soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and bottled Frappuccinos.

"It's not a nanny state at all; we're not banning anything," San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener said.

Wiener says the nation's rising obesity rate inspired him to come up with the proposal, which will ultimately need the approval of two-thirds of San Francisco voters.

"We have taxed alcohol for a long time, so it's not out of the ordinary to tax products that have some negative side effects," Wiener said.

Two cents an ounce adds up pretty quickly. A 32-once drink at a gas station would cost an extra 64 cents.

As to where all that money will go, the estimated $31 million a year will go to nutrition, health and physical fitness programs, a stark contrast to the failed soda tax proposal in Richmond, where the money instead was earmarked for the general fund.

In a statement, Californians for Food And Beverage wrote, "such measures are unnecessary, wasteful distractions from serious policymaking."

San Francisco residents, meanwhile, have their opinions.

"As long as it's going to educate people on a healthy lifestyle I think it's worth it," Steve Reeder said.

"I have an issue with just kind of taxing everything away, so I'm kind of on the fence," Martha Miller said.

The beverage tax proposal will be introduced before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

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