San Francisco News

Proposal to tax sugary drinks sold in San Francisco

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Soda machine Soda fountain

Sugary drinks in San Francisco could be taxed two cents an ounce, under a bill that's being introduced at the board of supervisors' meeting this afternoon. The controversial landmark legislation is aimed at the obesity epidemic.

The owner of a popular deli in San Francisco's Castro District says soft drinks are 30 percent of his business.

"To be honest, it would hurt the business," said deli owner Osama Dughman.

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener will start his campaign today for a tax on soda and sugar-sweetened beverages. He'll propose the idea to the board of supervisors.

"We have taxed tobacco for a long time. We have taxed alcohol for a long time -- so it's not at all out of all the ordinary to tax products that have some negative side effects," said Wiener.

A consulting firm has been hired by the beverage companies to fight the tax.

"They simply have the effect of raising the cost of living on working people and on small businesses. They have no material effect on the ability of people to lead healthy lifestyles," said BMWL Spokesperson Chuck Finnie.

BMWL helped defeat a soda tax across the bay in Richmond and he thinks San Francisco voters will respond the same.

"I think San Franciscans have other priorities that are much higher on the agenda than placing a tax on beverage sugar on the ballot," said Finnie.

Wiener plans to propose the idea to the board of supervisors today. The goal is to get it on the ballot for voters next year.

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Tags:
san francisco board of supervisors, food, taxes, san francisco news, amy hollyfield
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