Speed Reads

Sweet or sour?

San Francisco voters will soon decide whether to tax sugary soft drinks

On Tuesday, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted, 6-4, to propose a tax on soft drinks, energy drinks, and other high-calorie beverages on the November ballot. This fall, then, San Francisco voters will decide whether to tax their sugary drinks at two cents an ounce, with the money going toward health and exercise programs for teens and children. The measure will only pass if two-thirds of voters approve it.

City lawmakers say they are proposing the soda tax because sugar consumption has been tied to rising obesity and diabetes rates, especially among black and Latino youths. At NBC Bay Area, Sam Brock and Kinsey Kiriakos argue that tying the tax to calories, not fluid ounces, would be more likely to cut sugar consumption and improve public health.

The American Beverage Association is already gearing up for a big fight. If San Francisco — or Berkeley, whose voters will consider a similar penny-an-ounce tax — approves the measure, it will be the nation's first soft drink tax based on public health concerns.