Soda Tax Wins in Berkeley as San Francisco Effort Falls Short

One-Cent-Per-Ounce Tax Was Approved by Majority of Voters

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Voters in Berkeley, Calif. approved a tax on soda and other sugary drinks, while a similar proposal aimed at reducing obesity and diabetes in San Francisco fell short of a higher bar for passage.

The Berkeley initiative, which required a simple majority to enact a 1-cent-per-ounce tax, was approved by 75% of voters with 32% of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. San Francisco's measure to impose a 2-cents-per-ounce tax was backed by 55% of voters, but required a two-thirds vote to pass.

"San Franciscans have made it clear that they can decide for themselves what to eat and drink," Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the campaign to defeat the two measures, said in a statement. "Voters know that a new tax on beverages like juice drinks and soda would have driven up grocery prices."

The vote is the latest effort by health advocates to curb soda intake after a 16-ounce limit on the size of soft drinks sold in restaurants and movie theaters in New York was defeated in court by the soda industry. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had proposed the change in 2012.

Mr. Bloomberg, who is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, donated to Berkeley's soda-tax campaign.

The American Beverage Association, a Washington-based trade group representing Coca-Cola and PepsiCo led opposition against the two measures, arguing they would increase consumer costs and diminish consumer choices.

--Bloomberg News--

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