California voters reject tax on sugary drinks

November 8, 2012

According to the Los Angeles Times, voters in two California cities rejected proposals to tax sugary beverages on Nov. 6. In El Monte, nearly 77% of voters rejected a proposal to tax businesses 1 cent for every ounce of sugary beverages sold. A similar plan fell in the Bay Area city of Richmond, with about 67% of voters opposed.

Both measures sparked intense campaigning from the beverage industry, which used a broad array of tactics to argue that the tax would hurt families and small businesses. Combined, the opposition committees in Richmond and El Monte spent more than $3.5 million.

Chuck Finnie, a spokesman for the Richmond opposition campaign, said the victory was part of “a bigger war in the United States” between soft drink companies and health advocates who want to tap into their revenues to combat obesity problems. Despite Richmond’s reputation as a “pro-tax town,” he added, the measure failed to gain traction with most voters.

The outcome follows a series of successful efforts by the American Beverage Association (ABA) to thwart sugary drink tax proposals around the country. However, many health advocates believe the beverage tax battle isn’t over.

Los Angeles Times article

ABA blog post