Four US cities pass soda tax proposals
Four US cities in the US have voted new taxes on soda or other sugary drinks.
Voters in Boulder, Colorado and three cities in California, which include San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany, approved controversial new soda taxes.
The California cities voted for a penny-per-ounce levy on caloric sweeteners in non-alcoholic drinks which include cola to sports drinks, iced tea and energy drinks. In Boulder, residents have agreed for a ballot measure for a tax of two cents per ounce.
In the city of Chicago, Cook County with its surrounding suburbs, about 5 million residents are also expected to vote in favour of a penny per ounce tax on soft drinks. Drinks with zero-calorie sweeteners are also included in this category.
The move in these many cities aims to fight the rising number of obesity. But, this is being viewed as threat to soft drink companies such as Coca-cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
After Berkeley, California increased tax on sugary drinks, a study showed that consumption of such drinks dropped by about 20%. Also, when Mexico increased tax on sugary drinks in 2014, a decline in sales was noticed.
The American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown noted that this move to increase tax on sugary drinks is a big win for public health and congratulated the voters for not believing in the huge spending and false arguments on soft drinks.
She also noted that today’s children are drinking their age in sugary drinks every week. By increasing taxes, consumption will be reduced and therefore the chances of diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay will be reduced.
The American Beverage Association came out with an ad campaign, “Don’t Tax Our Groceries” and have spent close to $10m to oppose the tax increase measures.
The American Beverage Association CEO Susan Neely noted that the soft drink companies are committed towards public health and are planning to cut down 20% sugar content in soft drinks by 2025.