California Voters Reject Soda Tax in Two Towns

RICHMOND, Calif. -- Voters in two California towns headed to the polls Tuesday to defeat proposed measures that would have placed taxes on soft drinks.

In Richmond, 67 percent of the voters cast no votes for Measure N. Further south, voters in El Monte rejected Measure H by an even larger margin -- with 77 percent casting no votes, according to The Huffington Post. Richmond sits across the bay from San Francisco and El Monte is a suburb of Los Angeles.

If approved, Measure N in Richmond would have impose a "business license fee" of 1 cent per ounce on soda retailers, while Measure H in El Monte would have imposed a "sugary sweetened beverage license fee" of the same amount. Both towns have corresponding ballot measures that specify how the resulting revenue would be spent, as CSNews Online previously reported.

The cities were the subject of massive anti-soda tax campaign. As of Oct. 20, the last date for which records are available, the American Beverage Association (ABA) had spent $2.5 million fighting Richmond's Measure N and $1.3 million fighting El Monte's Measure H. The amounts overshadowed the funds put toward passing the ballot initiatives, the news report added.

Supporters had pushed the measures as a way to fight obesity. However, research on taxes targeting ostensibly unhealthy food choices has found that the economic impact on low-income families can be twice as high as that on high-income households, while a blanket tax on soda sales will likely have an unevenly burdensome impact on poor, non-white, and non-college educated consumers, according to the Tax Foundation.


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