SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Officials from several Bay Area cities on Friday joined forces to show their support of a November ballot measures that would tax sugary beverages.
The soda tax measure is on the November ballot in Oakland, Albany and San Francisco — where voters rejected a similar tax in 2014.
The measure would charge distributors one cent per ounce of soda they sell.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf joined San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on the steps of San Francisco City Hall Friday morning, along with San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen, to discuss the measures.
Doctors and politicians framed the sugar-sweetened beverage debate as “the people versus Big Soda.”
It’s a war on sugar-sweetened drinks like soda, iced tea, and sports drinks. The goal? Fighting obesity and type-two diabetes.
“We no longer can sit back and let the big-soda industry target and hurt our communities,” said Cohen.
“In Oakland they’re running a shamefully deceptive campaign, calling this a grocery tax. We need to be clear; Measure HH and Prop V are not grocery taxes. In fact, these are taxes on distributors of death-causing sugary beverages. That’s what this tax is on. In fact this tax is an incentive for people to purchase and afford healthy food as groceries. They don’t want you to know their dirty secret, and that is that their products are deadly,” Schaaf said.
Those against the measure say charging the distributors is basically a tax on their businesses. They’re calling it a “grocery tax” in television ads, saying they would have to spread that extra cost throughout the rest of their merchandise.
The pro-soda tax side is running its own multi-million dollar campaign.
“We have to be smart. We have to be smarter than those that sell to us this disease. We have to conquer it,” said Lee.
The big difference for San Francisco voters this time around is that the tax only needs a simple majority to pass. In 2014, it required two-thirds approval