San Francisco is the latest city to consider a soda tax. It would raise $31 million per year for health and education programs at schools. While the powerful sugar lobby has defeated tax measures in other cities, this will happen sooner or later.
Supervisor Scott Wiener plans this week to introduce a ballot measure that would set a tax on sugary beverages. The proceeds would fund health, nutrition and activity programs for city youth. Wiener’s proposal would levy a tax of 24 cents on each can of soda sold in the city, where fast-food restaurants are already prohibited from handing out free toys in kids’ meals high in fat, salt and sugar.
Wiener said a mounting body of research has documented the link between sugary beverages and obesity and diabetes – and that voters are willing to tax the sweet drinks if they know that the money will help keep kids healthy. A statewide Field Poll released earlier this year found that 68 percent of voters would support a soda tax if the proceeds went toward improving nutrition and fitness programs in schools.
Wiener’s proposal would add a tax of 2 cents per ounce on all sugar-sweetened beverages, defined as drinks with 25 or more calories that have added sugary sweeteners and are less than 50 percent fruit or vegetable juice. The money would go toward health and exercise programs at city schools, recreation centers and nonprofit organizations that contract with the city.
Hopefully, Safe-Routes-To-Schools projects will also be eligible for funding.