Friday, May 22, 2015

California: Berkeley soda tax: First month's take, $116,000

BERKELEY -- Several City Council members and other boosters of Berkeley's first-in-the-nation soda tax giddily reported the first month's haul -- $116,000 -- on the steps of the municipal office building on Milvia Street on Monday.
Councilman Laurie Capitelli, a prominent booster of the freshly enacted tax, projected the first year's proceeds at about $1.2 million.

On Nov. 4, voters approved Measure D, a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on the distribution of most sugar-sweetened beverages, by a better than 3-1 margin, even though, as a general tax with proceeds to go into the general fund, it needed only a simple majority.

The city did not estimate what the tax might bring in, but unofficial estimates from proponents had pegged the annual take at anywhere from $1 million to $2 million.

A shelf of diet and regular soft drinks sit in a refrigerator at a market in San Francisco.
A shelf of diet and regular soft drinks sit in a refrigerator at a market in San Francisco. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)
"What we really want to do, in 10 years, is collect no (soda) tax," Capitelli said during Monday's news conference, at which council members Linda Maio and Max Anderson spoke. Councilman Kriss Worthington also attended. The hope, Capitelli said, was that people would stop consuming unhealthy beverages altogether.

Standing on the periphery of the news conference was Roger Salazar, spokesman for the No on D campaign, which had argued that the tax would be a government cash grab that could be spent on anything politicians desire, without any guarantee it would go to any health-related programs, despite promises by proponents that its proceeds would go to nutrition and education programs.

Via: Contra Costa Times

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