RICHMOND (KCBS) – Richmond voters rejected Measure N, a business license fee that would have required business to pay one penny for every ounce of a sugar-sweetened beverage sold in the city.

“It was actually going to end up raising the cost of living and raise grocery bills,” said Chuck Finnie, spokesman for the No on N campaign.

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“It was going to have a regressive impact. It was going to hurt local businesses.”

The measure was defeated 67 to 33 percent, according to results Wednesday posted by the Contra Costa County Elections Division.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

Supporters estimated the so-called soda tax would have generated as much as $3 million to combat childhood obesity.

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The American Beverage Association spent several million dollars campaigning to defeat the measure. This was the first soda tax in the United States to appear on the ballot.

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Richmond City Councilman Jeff Ritterman, a retired cardiologist who was the driving force behind Measure N, predicted that this failure would not stop other communities from trying to impose fees on sugary drinks to fund public health initiatives.

“We made a really great campaign and really great statement, and we definitely put this on the map. We brought it further than anybody else,” Ritterman said.

He and other advocates compared the soda tax to the taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

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