Gray revives the soda tax

Photo courtesy of
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.

Dave has been following DC news and politics for nearly eight years and previous authored the blog “Why I Hate DC.” Dave tries to give a voice to those frustrated by the “politics as usual” in the area. By day he works in the technology department of a non-profit, by night he writes about news and politics and works at a local hardware store. Dave is also a contributor for Greater Greater Washington. You can follow him on Twitter or read his personal blog.

6 thoughts on “Gray revives the soda tax

  1. I say huzzah. There’s a compelling reason to exempt essential food items from sales tax but there’s no reason to view artificially sweetened beverages as necessary items.

    The only argument I find really compelling as a counter-point is removing the complexity and simply taxing food like anything else. It’s not like we don’t tax other life necessities like clothing and basic property.

  2. It sounds like this would include everything except bottled water (i.e. juice and tea, in addition to soda). Is that the case?

  3. My goodness, I love this idea and I drink MULTIPLE SODA’S A DAY.

    I mean, I choose to buy the sodas so when I get it, I know a tax will be attached.

    I would rather these taxes rather than forcing them on the lower/middle classes through property taxes or other personal ones

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  5. Unfortunately, the new iteration of the bill, does nothing to discourage sugar consumption, a major public health issue (and the point of the original proposal), and may lead to taxation of other grocery items.