RICHMOND (CBS / AP / BCN) — Returns from Richmond showed voters rejected a penny-per-ounce tax on businesses that sell soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

Officials said late Tuesday that Richmond’s Measure N was losing by about a two-to-one margin.

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Backers of the measure had argued the tax would reduce consumption of soft drinks, blamed for child obesity, while generating revenue for youth programs.

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But opponents said businesses would lose millions of dollars in sales, while prices would go up for consumers.

During the debate over the measure, millions of dollars poured into the campaign by its opponents.

Campaign finance statements released in early October showed the “No on N” campaign had spent $2.2 million compared to just $25,000 by supporters of the tax, with the opposition being led by beverage industry lobbying organization, the American Beverage Association.

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