Berkeley sugar beverage tax

November 5, 2014

Depending on how you look at it, Berkeley has either succeeded where over 24 cities and states have tried and failed, or failed where the others have succeeded.

Berkeley is a suburb of San Francisco and home to one of the best-known California universities, the University of California at Berkeley. The city is known for hard-left ideologies and a voting population to back it.

That voting populating has now passed a law that will apply a tax on each ounce of sugar-sweetened beverage sold in the city. It’s for what it is, it’s very straight forward. Each ounce of beverage will be taxed $.01

Right across the bridge, a similar San Francisco proposition failed. The San Francisco one however was to double the tax, using $.02 per ounce. Aside from introducing a higher tax, it would have also had specific allocation requirements, going to programs within health and education as well as physical activity programs. For this reason it required, and failed to receive, a two-thirds vote.

Berkeley’s passed proposition on the other hand did not contain specific allocation requirements and only required a majority vote. It includes various exemptions, such as for diet drinks, milk products, 100% natural juices, those going to particularly small retailers and alcoholic drinks being consumed for medical reasons.

The soda industry, fearing that these laws passing may instigate a nationwide trend towards the same, fought both propositions the only way they know how – throwing money at them.

According to TIME, the opposition raised over $9 million for its fight against the San Francisco proposition and $2.4 million for Berkeley. Nearly all of the money raised was from the American Beverage Association.

The reasons for this tax have always been multi-purpose. Advocates are quick to extol the taxes as a way of reducing obesity and raising revenues. The former is achieved by forcing consumers to think twice about the cost for beverages and the latter in lieu of the tax itself.

The opposition often cites that taxes are already high, and additionally that something like this will unfairly target the beverage industry…poor guys…

John Rosenbaum is an Orange County attorney who has attained remarkable success in the areas of Workers Compensation and Personal Injury. If you’re in need of an Orange County Workers Comp or Personal Injury attorney, give us a call and find out what we can do for you.

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