Soda Wars: Scott Wiener to Propose Beverage Tax

Categories: Government, Health
Old Coke ad.jpg
Pay up, you!
It was a move that went down easier than a Dr Pepper on a hot summer's day: Supervisor Scott Wiener packaged an alarmingly thorough press release announcing his proposal to levy a tax upon sugary beverages with a big writeup in the Chronicle

Whether San Francisco voters will slurp up a measure to charge themselves an additional two cents an ounce for the privilege of stocking up on Mountain Dew remains to be seen. "Big Soda" has taken the fizz out of similar measures, most recently across the bay in Richmond.

Prior to California Proposition 26, proposals like Wiener's could have been handled legislatively, without voters weighing in. By redefining "fees" and "taxes," however, Prop. 26 now requires We the People to weigh in on matters like this -- and further requires a two-thirds majority. It warrants mentioning that one of the major funders of Prop. 26 was the American Beverage Association

So now we've got the makings of a soda war.

See Also: Soda Consumption Fizzes Up Among Teens

It's a war in which Wiener has been grappling behind the scenes since very early in the year. And it's one he thinks he's got a chance of winning.

  • The Board earlier this year unanimously approved a resolution backing a state proposal to levy a penny-an-ounce soda tax (that bill stalled in the senate).

  • Polling Wiener cites indicates around 70 percent of city voters would approve some form of soda tax (meaning Big Soda has to only sway about five percent of the electorate).

  • And, unlike the Richmond proposal -- in which money raised simply "went into the government black hole" -- Wiener's measure would direct the $31 million or so a year into health and nutrition programs administered by city departments and overseen by a designated committee.

A recent study of California youth soda consumption revealed that sugary beverage consumption is down overall among kids -- but up among adolescents. San Francisco consumption is notably lower than most every other county.

Soda-drinking, however, is heaviest among poor and minority teens. Asked how he'd counter the charge that a tax weighs heaviest on the poor while hardly affecting the wealthy, Wiener quickly notes that "developing diabetes is a much bigger regressive tax on low-income communities than paying a sugary beverage tax. It's not even close."

Also, he points out, "We have language in the measure giving priority in terms of spending the proceeds of the tax to low-income, disadvantaged communities."

Wiener's measure will be introduced before the Board tomorrow and may come before voters in November 2014. If nothing else, it figures to make for a more spirited election than the snoozer coming up next week.

You remembered that one, right?



My Voice Nation Help
18 comments
gnewsome
gnewsome

Supervisors Scott Wiener and Eric Mar in their quest could also propose taxing the salt content in food and beverages. Tax them 2¢ per oz. because Scott Wiener and Eric Mar want only healthy people in San Francisco. As former Mayor Gavin Newsome once said, “Like it or not!”

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

This tax is racist! 

"Soda-drinking, however, is heaviest among poor and minority teens." 

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Just tax everything and get it over with.  They are floating a mileage tax too.

ScottWiener
ScottWiener

Scott Weiner has proposed a bad idea to tax sugar sweetened beverages. This tax would apply to sports drinks and to Frapuncinos. Does this tax also apply to coffee, cappuccinos, espressos lattes and mochas? If a customer at Starbucks orders beverages with sugar, does this tax of 2¢ per oz. also apply? Perhaps the customer should instead order beverages without sugar and then later add sugar into the beverages when the sales clerk isn’t looking. If customers are forced to pay 2¢ per oz. on sugar sweetened beverages in San Francisco, then customers would simply go outside of San Francisco to do their shopping.

maureenataba
maureenataba

In Richmond, in El Monte, in the State Senate and in many other parts of the country, this type of beverage tax has been voted down time and again. There are a number of important reasons why, starting with the fact that studies and real-life examples prove excise taxes on soda won’t help citizens’ health. In addition, such taxes would adversely impact area businesses and take a toll on the local economy. And consumers, particularly those already struggling to make ends meet or live on a fixed income, would be hard hit by what is tantamount to a regressive tax. The major takeaway?Education – rather than regulation – is a more effective means of changing behaviors that positively impact health.- Maureen at American Beverage Association

galser.marcos
galser.marcos

It makes no sense. it's not the way to stop obesity;  it's like building a bridge to stop a river.  The solution doesn't fit the problem. 

detailindude.1
detailindude.1

You know it is so absurd what fools will put on a ballot, we should have some fun with it.  Should something happen to his wife on the ballot, his kid, his dog?  Let's so how ridiculous we can be to show this ass clown fool how ridiculous he is.

sonya209
sonya209

@ScottWiener That's how it'd affect the wealthy, ha!  No more sugar tables!

That being said, it is a ridiculously bad idea.

Skinny
Skinny

@maureenataba

If Scott Wiener and Eric Mar get their way, they will try to pass an anti-obesity tax. Anybody who weighs more than either one of these skinny guys will be taxed. For those who cannot pay the fat tax, then these San Francisco Supervisors will have the poor or obese people confined into labor camps and remain there until they become skinny and obtain enough money to pay their fines and fat taxes.

SlipperySlope
SlipperySlope

@maureenataba

The four San Francisco Supervisors Scott Wiener, Eric Mar, Malia Cohen and John Avalos all want to impose a new sin tax of 2¢ per ounce on sugary drinks to reduce obese people. They plan to use the anticipated annual $31 Million as an easy source of revenue. They know that if their scheme succeeds, then this would encourage them to next impose sin taxes on sugary food or other beverages. In the future, they will seek to increase the sin tax from 2¢ per ounce to 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1 per ounce. They know once passed, the new sin taxes will be too difficult to be repealed. They will seek to tax whatever else they do not approve of. This is clearly a dangerous, slippery slope.

NannyPolice
NannyPolice

@maureenataba

San Francisco Supervisors Scott Wiener and Eric Mar are the Nanny Police. Scott Wiener thinks that nudity is sinful. Eric Mar thinks that it is sinful for San Francisco to waste its time and money to celebrate Batkid for having survived leukemia. Scott Wiener and Eric Mar think that sugary drinks are sinful like alcohol and tobacco. Therefore Scott Wiener and Eric Mar must impose taxes as punishment upon sinful people. However, instead of imposing another mandatory sin tax, let each customer decide upon an individual purchase of a sugary beverage if he or she chooses to make a voluntary donation of 2¢ per oz. to help reduce obesity.



TaxObesity
TaxObesity

@maureenataba

Since it is the goal of San Francisco Supervisors Scott Wiener and Eric Mar to reduce obesity in kids by taxing sugary drinks, they could next tax all electronic games and televisions. Scott Wiener and Eric Mar would claim that obese kids are too sedentary. Therefore tax everything that contributes to obesity in kids. Tax obese kids if they cannot run fast enough or perform physical exercise. Next if residents themselves in San Francisco overweight, Scott Wiener and Eric Mar could tax all overweight people by $100 per pound. That would drive overweight people away from San Francisco. Then only skinny people like Scott Wiener and Eric Mar can afford to live in the City.

EricMar
EricMar

@maureenataba

San Francisco Supervisors Scott Wiener and Eric Mar want to tax sugary drinks. If they get their way, next they want to tax milkshakes, ice cream, coffee with sugar, tea with sugar, hot chocolate, birthday cakes, wedding cakes, anniversary cakes, bar mitzvah cakes, bat mitzvah cakes, pastries, candies, chips, snacks, etc. Scott Wiener and Eric Mar are outrageous.

ScottWiener
ScottWiener

@maureenataba

I concur that Scott Wiener’s proposal is a bad idea. Scott Wiener will next propose taxing Starbucks sugar sweetened beverages, coffee, cappuccinos, espressos, frapuncinos, lattes, mochas, tea, pastries, cakes, candies, cookies and snacks. Then Scott Wiener will propose taxing anything else containing too many calories.

mailorders
mailorders topcommenter

@detailindude.1 Easy - Easy: this isn't the old Freedom of Speech USA of yesteryear. You may find some burly suits banging on your door in the middle of the night.

detailindude.1
detailindude.1

@mailorders @detailindude.1  

I am not saying we should show up and shoot the man, that would be horrible:)  I'm just suggesting we put his murder on a ballot and see what the people who voted him there think.  Actual murder is wrong, and taxing soda at 24 cents a can is wrong, which one is worst is up to the voters.  I bet voting to kill him and the 24 cents tax on a 12 cents can of cola would both be unconstitutional.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...