California City Loses Fight with “Big Soda”

November 7, 2012 — Richmond, California, did not become the first city to add a tax on businesses that sell soda and sugar drinks. Attempting to follow the examples of states that have taxed these drinks as part of an effort to fight obesity, Richmond, located not far from San Francisco, had placed a measure on this week’s ballot that was defeated.

Support for the measure had been led by Richmond’s Green Party mayor and social activists belonging to the Richmond Progressive Alliance who control the Richmond City Council. Those who opposed the measure said it would end up being a "tax on poor people." Soda companies fought hard, funneling more than $2 million into defeating the proposal, while supporters raised less than $70,000. According to a study commissioned by the Richmond City Council, more than half the elementary students in Richmond have excess weight or obesity. 

You can read the San Francisco Chronicle story here.