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SF Supes Drum Up Support For Soda Tax Measure

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A customer shops for soft drinks in a cooler at a 76 gas station on March 25, 2013 in San Francisco, California. According to a report by Beverage Digest, sales of carbonated soft drinks in the United States fell 1.2 percent in 2012 to 9.17 billion cases. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A customer shops for soft drinks in a cooler at a 76 gas station on March 25, 2013 in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – It was a long afternoon in the San Francisco supervisors chambers Wednesday, as supporters of a proposed ballot measure to tax sugary drinks as a way to combat childhood obesity tried to drown out the opposition from the beverage industry.

Opponents who showed up for a committee meeting convened by the two supervisors behind the latest attempt to pass a so-called soda tax waited more than two hours for the chance to be heard.

The hearing foreshadows how the campaign is likely to unfold once the proposal to tax sugary drinks at two cents per ounce officially lands on the November ballot.

“The soda tax would be critical to improving the health of San Francisco’s families,” said Supervisor Eric Mar.

Supporters see adding a premium on sugary drinks as an important step in efforts to reduce diseases such as diabetes among children, but not all health officials have been convinced.

“Taxing sweetened beverages, while well intentioned, will do nothing to prevent obesity or improve health outcomes,” said Lisa Katic said, a dietician representing the beverage industry who waited two hours for her two minutes at the microphone.

Other opponents of the measure, decked out in red t-shirts calling for an end to unfair beverage taxes, described it as a regressive tax that targets the poor and small businesses that rely on soft drink sales.

Money from the tax would fund education and recreation programs.

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