San Francisco Board of Supes to put sugar tax before voters

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In November, San Francisco will vote on a measure to tax sugary drinks two pennies per ounce.

In November, San Franciscans will vote on a measure to tax sugary drinks. This comes after the Board of Supervisors decided to place it on the ballot for people to vote on. The hope is to make people, especially children and teens, think twice about what they drink.

Other cities have tried to tax sugary drinks, but the beverage industry has always won. A similar fight in San Francisco is expected as well.

If the tax passes, it will be adding an additional 2 cents per ounce. A 12-ounce can of Coke, under the new tax would now cost you an additional 24 cents. A 20-ounce bottle of Snapple would coast you an additional 40 cents.

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar said, "So two pennies per ounce to reduce the amount of harmful beverages by 30-40 percent, according to the best economist in the city."

He was referring to the office of the San Francisco economist. Mar is one of the authors of the measure. He and others attending a rally at City Hall believe adding this tax would discourage people from buying soft drinks, especially younger people who don't have a steady stream of money.

If it passes, the city could collect up to $50 million -- money that would go to support underfunded programs like school lunches, physical education and after school programs.

Supporters of the tax proposal say it would also improve the city's health and reduce the number of cases of diabetes.

"That's exactly what we saw happen with tobacco and that is the way that you then cut it out, by decreasing one drink at a time, one sugary drink at a time," Shannon Udovic-Constant from the San Francisco Medical Society said.

"Diabetes is a serious disease and I think if it's going to help the world be healthier then yeah, you should tax," San Francisco voter Jeffrey Campitch said.

However, the California Beverage Association will lobby hard against it. The industry association says, when putting it directly to the voters, the tax will go down in defeat.

Kurt Mikel is a vendor who doesn't believe in targeting just the beverage industry. He says Americans are obsessed with sugar.

"No, it should be better education toward people about what's good for them," Mikel said.

San Francisco supervisors aren't the only ones pushing for a tax on sugary beverages; Berkeley residents will vote on a similar measure in November.
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politicselectionsvotingsan francisco board of supervisorstaxeshealthfoodSan FranciscoSan Francisco City Hall
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