Richmond Soda Tax Fizzled

Measure N was written to tax merchants a penny per ounce on sugary drinks.

By Lisa Fernandez NBC The high-profile measure in Richmond asking residents to decide whether to tax sodas and other sugary beverages fizzled on Election Day. The the No on Measure N won with 68 percent of the vote. The controversial measure would have charged a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks. Critics, which included city councilman Nat Bates, felt that the tax was over-reaching: Mainly the soda tax would have imposed on people how to live their lives. No surprise, the beverage industry had poured lots of money to defeat Measure N. As of Oct. 20, the American Beverage Association had spent nearly $2.5 million. The defeat was sure to upset Richmond Councilman Jeff Ritterman, who had introduced Measure N as a way to try and combat childhood obesity. “Fully 1/3 of our African American and Latino 5th and 7th graders were obese and another 20 percent were overweight, so it was pretty clear that we have a crisis,” Ritterman said in a previous interview. “We know the results these children are going to lose years off their life and it’s not their fault. It’s not fair.” If Richmond passes the measure, it would have been the first city in the nation to do so.
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