courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’
The soda tax is back, though this time as a extension of the District’s sales tax. Tim Craig at DC Wire reports that Council Chair Vincent Gray (D) wants all “non-alcoholic beverages with natural or artificial sweeteners” to be taxed at 6%. This tax replaces the now-dead proposal by Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) that would have added a 1-cent-per-ounce tax to sugar-based sodas. Presently all sodas are considered grocery items and are not subject to sales tax.
The new measure, which is a wider tax that would include diet sodas, is expected to bring in $8 million in revenue. $6.5 million of this would fund the Healthy Schools Initiative, with the leftovers going to the city’s general fund.
The new tax, while wider in scope, would raise the price of a $1.99 soda by around 12 cents. Cheh’s tax was based on the size of a beverage, resulting in nearly a 68 cent tax on a 2-liter beverage.