Sugary Drinks Tax Proposed In San Francisco

A sugary drinks tax could be coming to San Francisco.

Two SF supervisors are proposing a tax on sugary drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. If passed, the measure would add a 2-cent tax per ounce on sodas. That would add 24 cents to an average 12-ounce can of soda and would bring in an estimated $30 million in annual taxes. The tax would only apply to drinks with more than 25 calories per ounce.

The measure was introduced this week by Scott Wiener. If it is approved by the board and Mayor Ed Lee, it will go on the ballot in November 2014.

Wiener said: “We must act aggressively to address this epidemic.”

Reuters reports that San Francisco would be the first city to tax sugary drinks on a per-ounce basis. Two other California cities, Richmond and El Monte, tried to pass a similar measure last year, but failed.

Wiener said: “We know that this will be a long road… This type of proposal has occurred in other cities and the beverage industry always comes out full guns blaring, so we’re going to need to pull together to make sure that this wins.”

If the measure passes, money from the sugary drinks tax will be used to fund nutrition programs at local schools. Supervisor Eric Mar, who plans to introduce a similar, but separate measure, said that areas with higher rates of diabetes would get the money first.

American Beverage Society Chuck Finnie said that a sugary drinks tax was unnecessary and distracted politicians from taking on meaningful legislation.

Finnie said: “Californians have rejected beverage taxes like the one San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener proposes because such measures are unnecessary, wasteful distractions from serious policymaking.”