BERKELEY, CA -- Jennifer Skidmore of J&J Vending (Union City, CA) testified before the City Council here in early July, strongly opposing the inclusion of a soda tax measure being placed on the November ballot.
The proposal calls for a 1¢-per-fl.oz. excise tax on companies that distribute soda, sweetened teas and other beverages with added sugar. Diet soda, baby formula, milk, alcohol and 100% juice drinks would be exempt. If passed, the measure would be the first of its kind in the country.
Skidmore argued that while the vending industry is well aware of the effect of sugar consumption on growing rates of diabetes and childhood obesity, the taxation of sugary beverages is not an effective solution.
Skidmore pointed to statistics that show a decline in the purchase of sugary beverages already, without a tax. "I think you're making soda a scapegoat for a much larger issue," she stated.
The vending operator is a board member of the California Automatic Vendors Council and a member of the National Automatic Merchandising Association's Emerging Leaders Network.
Meanwhile, neighboring San Francisco has its own 2¢-per-fl.oz. sugary drink tax set for the Nov. 4 ballot.