NEW YORK ? Come November, residents of El Monte, Calif., are scheduled to vote on a measure that would add a 1-cent tax on every ounce of ?sugar sweetened? drinks, reports Reuters.
Last week city council approved the measure, which Mayor Andre Quintero says will provide much-needed revenue for a city that has a 13.7% unemployment rate and concerns about childhood obesity. ?We have long-term challenges,? he told the news source. ?We need the revenue.?
Beverage industry groups, however, are working to kill the effort, as well as a similar proposal in Richmond (Calif.), citing the taxes on sugary drinks as a misguided approach to boosting state coffers.
?Even if those don't pass in November, there could certainly be the potential of future tax threats in other cities,? Karen Hanretty, vice-president of public affairs for the American Beverage Association, told the news source.
?This tax is a sign of the times,? added Bob Achermann, executive director of the California/Nevada Soft Drink Association. ?City governments are looking for revenue. We think this is a misguided approach.?
Reuters wrote that with more Americans concerned about obesity, especially in children, ?the campaign against soft-drinks is gaining momentum from coast to coast.?
Last year a statewide soda tax proposal offered by Democratic Californian Assemblyman Bill Monning failed after strong opposition from a broad coalition including the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Restaurant Association.