The popular but ultimately failed San Francisco soda tax may be bubbling back up. A petition calling for the addition of such a tax to the 2016 November ballot is circulating and appears poised to receive the requisite number of signatures. The measure would add a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks sold in San Francisco, mimicking a similar measure passed by Berkeley in 2014.
That same year, the San Francisco soda tax — placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors — failed to capture the two thirds of the vote it needed to become law, garnering just 56 percent support. But this time around, the Chronicle reports that the proposal has been tweaked in order to lower the voter approval threshold to 50 percent, likely guaranteeing success.
“I’m pretty confident this measure will pass,” Supervisor Malia Cohen told the Chronicle. “We’re approaching this completely differently.”
As the 2014 proposed tax would have seen revenue go to a specific purpose (city-wide nutrition and wellness programs), the measure required the aforementioned two thirds approval. This time around tax revenue would go into the general fund.
Regardless of the Supervisor's confidence in the ultimate success of the soda tax, Larry Tramutola, a political strategist leading the soda tax effort, expects the soda industry to dump tons of money into fighting it.
“The [soda] industry will spend an ungodly amount of money in ungodly ways to convince people this isn’t going to do any good,” he told the paper.
If passed, this would be only the second soda tax in the nation.