Voters in Berkley California have backed a 1-cent-an-ounce tax on soft drinks (known as Measure D), making Berkeley the first US city to pass a law taxing sugary drinks. While the measure only needed a majority of “yes” votes to pass, it received support from over 75% of voters.
Dr Vicki Alexander, Co-Chair of the ‘Yes on D’ campaign group, said of the Berkley decision, “Berkeley has a proud history of setting nationwide trends, such as non-smoking sections in restaurants and bars, curb cuts for wheelchairs, curbside recycling, and public school food policies.”
The Berkeley measure overcame a multimillion-dollar opposition campaign funded by soft-drink manufacturers. ‘Yes on D’ Co-Chair Josh Daniels, who also serves as President of the Berkeley School Board, said “Despite spending millions, Big Soda never really stood a chance.”
“Berkeley has been striving to improve the health of our children for over two decades,” says Xavier Morales, Executive Director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and Coalition member. “Measure D is simply the latest manifestation of this struggle.”
At the same time, voters in San Francisco rejected a similar proposal to impose a 2-cent-per-ounce tax. In San Francisco a two-thirds majority would have been required for the proposal to pass.
In New York, a proposition that would have banned large-size sugary beverages was blocked by a New York State judge.