- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2013

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener plans this week to propose a tax of 24 cents on each can of soda sold in the city in a new crackdown on obesity.

Similar proposals were unsuccessful last year in Richmond and El Monte after the beverage industry spent millions of dollars to defeat them, the San Francisco Gate reported.

While New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s failed plan tried to ban the sale of sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces, Mr. Wiener’s proposal would add a tax of 2 cents per ounce on the beverages themselves.

The taxed beverages are defined as having added sweeteners, containing 25 or more calories, and having less than 50 percent fruit or vegetable juice, the Gate reported.

“It’s not a nanny state at all; we’re not banning anything,” Mr. Wiener said, KGO-TV reported. “We have taxed alcohol for a long time, so it’s not out of the ordinary to tax products that have some negative side effects.”

A statewide poll conducted earlier this year found that 68 percent of voters would support a tax on soda if it meant the proceeds would fund health programs for youngsters, which is exactly what Mr. Weiner’s proposal plans to do, the Gate reported. Taxes collected — an estimated $31 million a year — would reportedly go toward health and exercise programs for young people at city schools, the report said.

Californians for Food And Beverage wrote in a statement that “such measures are unnecessary, wasteful distractions from serious policymaking,” KGO reported.

The plan will need majority support from the Board of Supervisors before residents can vote on it in the November 2014 ballot.

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