It didn’t get a ton of coverage last night (I wonder why?), but four new cities approved taxes on sodas and other sugary drinks in ballot measures voted on yesterday.
You can now slide San Francisco just under Philadelphia on the list of the largest cities that tack a bit of tax on sodas and other sweetened beverages. About 62 percent of voters in the California metropolis of over 800,000 people voted in favor of the tax that is slated to add about one cent per ounce to sugary beverages sold within its limits. If you were thinking San Fran already had a sin tax on soda, I wouldn’t be surprised: The city has been pretty hostile to the beverage industry for years, getting in a scuffle with them earlier this year over adding warning labels to soda advertisements. The city also held a similar vote to the one that passed yesterday back in 2014. That time, it failed to pass, but this time around, San Franciscans put their foot down. Now the city's residents join their Bay Area cohorts in Berkeley, which was the first city to pass a soda tax two years ago.
But hold on a sec: Berkeley and San Francisco aren’t the only parts of the Bay Area getting in on the soda hate. Oakland and Albany, a small city just north of Berkeley, also passed one cent per ounce soda taxes yesterday, meaning northern California is now the most hostile place for sweetened drinks in the entire country. Additionally, Boulder, Colorado, made it four cities in the US who used Election Day to take a stand against sugary drinks. Boulder will likely be getting an even steeper two-cent per ounce tax after 54 percent of voters approved the measure.
That makes six cities in total that have enacted these kinds of taxes, so while that may not seem like many, it’s definitely a jump up from two. It’ll be something to keep an eye on next election. That’s right, everyone: There will be other elections!