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San Francisco considers tax on sugary drinks

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By Reuters
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, 9:27 p.m.
 

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco may become the latest city to try to curb the consumption of sugary drinks with a proposed ballot measure to impose a tax on beverages seen as a culprit in rising rates of childhood obesity and diabetes.

Supervisor Scott Wiener on Tuesday formally proposed asking voters in November 2014 to impose a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and drinks with added sugar sold in the famously liberal northern California city.

No other city has enacted such a tax, though a similar proposal is in the works in the southwestern Colorado town of Telluride, according to the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Two California cities, Richmond and El Monte, failed last year in their attempts to become the first in the nation to impose taxes of a penny per ounce on businesses that sell sugary drinks.

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg last year spearheaded a ban on the sale of large, sugary drinks, but the move was declared illegal by a state judge in response to a challenge by soft drink makers and a restaurant group. New York's highest court has agreed to hear an appeal.

“We know that this will be a long road,” Wiener said in introducing the measure to his colleagues. “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.”

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