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Oakland Soda Tax To Be Included On November Ballot

Posted On: 8/22/2016

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TAGS: vending, Oakland CA soda tax, Measure HH, American Beverage Association, Jennifer Skidmore, J&J Vending, Berkeley CA soda tax

OAKLAND, CA -- Voters in Oakland, CA, will decide the fate of a proposed new tax on soda and other drinks when they cast their votes in November. The city's Measure HH seeks to levy a 1¢ per fl.oz. tax on sugary beverages. The American Beverage Association has reportedly already spent $600,000 to fight the proposal.

Bay Area operator Jennifer Skidmore of J&J Vending (Union City, CA) testified in July 2014 before the City Council here, strongly opposing the inclusion of a soda tax measure on the November ballot that year. In September 2014, a judge ruled that the terms "high-calorie" and "sugary drinks" must be removed from the wording of the soda tax measure that made it onto the November ballot but did not pass. Two Berkeley residents, Anthony Johnson and Leon Cain, filed the lawsuit in August asking that the phrases be changed because state law requires ballot materials to be impartial.

Voters in neighboring Berkeley approved the first soda tax in the U.S. in November 2014 with more than three-quarters of the votes cast in favor. The city's 1¢-per-fl.oz. tax has raised $1.5 million to date.

Philadelphia on June 16 of this year approved a 1.5¢-per-fl.oz. tax on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages in a 13-4 vote. The tax, which the city plans to start collecting on Jan. 1, 2017, is expected to raise about $91 million annually.