Berkeley Votes to Tax Sugary Drinks

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

November 4, 2014

Berkeley voters have shown it can be done. A community's health can trump Big Soda's insatiable appetite for profit. With passage of Measure D, Berkeley is now poised to make a welcome dent in soda consumption and in the city's rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other soda-related diseases. And importantly, the city will now have an important new stream of revenue it will use to promote children's health. This is a historic victory for public health and a historic defeat for the increasingly disreputable soda industry.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the American Beverage Association can no longer count on spending their way to victory. But they better keep their checkbooks out: We expect that cities, towns, and state legislatures all over the country are taking a close look at what happened in Berkeley and many will be readying similar campaigns to tax soda in the years to come.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest also supports a federal tax on sugar drinks. Last July, Rep. Rosa DeLauro introduced the SWEET Act, which would impose a one-cent tax per teaspoon of sugar in soft drinks. Such a tax would both reduce drink consumption and raise upwards of $10 billion a year that could be used for health programs.

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Disclosure: CSPI donated $15,000 to the Yes on D campaign.


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