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Davis City Council Rejects Soda Tax Initiative

Andrew Nixon/CapRadio
 

Andrew Nixon/CapRadio

Updated at 6:00 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3: People in Davis will not be voting on a soda tax initiative in June. Last night, the Davis City Council took a vote on whether to put the proposed tax on the June ballot. The idea was rejected 3-2. In order for the soda tax to have move forward, four of the five city council members would have had to vote in favor of putting it on the ballot. Right now, the only city in the country with a soda tax is Berkeley. Voters there approved the tax in November of 2014.


Original story from Tuesday, Feb. 2: The Davis City Council tonight is scheduled to decide whether a soda tax initiative will appear on the city's June ballot.

Robb Davis is the city's mayor pro-tem. He says a soda tax would make a statement that Davis is part of a global movement to reduce sugary beverage consumption.

"And also that we want to produce healthy programming for our kids," says Davis, "so that we can combat the overall effects of poor diet and sugary-beverages."

He says the revenue collected from a one-cent per ounce of soda tax would go to pay for things that keep kids healthy and active like parks, swimming pools and bike trails.

Dr. Harold Goldstein is with the California Center for Public Health Advocacy which supports a soda tax.

"We have parks that are falling apart that need refurbishing," says Goldstein. "We have swimming pools that are leaking. The city just doesn't have the funding. And this would be a revenue source specifically for those purposes."

But critics of a soda tax say it'll hurt business. Robert Abelon is with Region Business, an advocacy group representing about 30 restaurateurs in the Sacramento region.

"It's a very specific burden that's just targeting them just for the sake of increasing the General Fund for the city of Davis," says Abelon. He says bars and eateries will suffer with a tax on sugary beverages.

"It's so tough to quantify and so tough to regulate," says Abelon. "And then, do you fill out paperwork for every drink that they serve? We have no idea how this is going to rollout."

In order for the soda tax to move forward, four of the five city council members will have to vote in favor of putting the initiative on the June ballot.

Right now, the only city in the country with a soda tax is Berkeley. Voters there approved the tax in November of 2014.

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Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the voice of Capital Public Radio News as anchor of Morning Edition and Insight. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music. Steve also produced stories for CapRadio.org.   Read Full Bio