The sweet taste of your favorite soft drink now comes at a price in the District. The controversial soda tax is a reality. Despite protests from lovers of cola and several businesses the new bill will add a 6 percent sales tax to ALL sodas, sports drinks and other sweetened nonalcoholic beverages. Soda tax advocates like Ward 3 Councilmember Mary M. Cheh should be elated with the new bill. On her website you can find 10 Myths About the Soda Tax. The “myths” range from “Residents would lose jobs because of a soda tax” to “Baristas would have to calculate the tax if sugar is added to beverages.” Soda tax supporters also get a boost from the (very fit) First Lady Michelle Obama who champions ending the childhood obesity epidemic in America.
Despite its ambitious and healthy goals most businesses aren’t buying it. Ben’s Chili Bowl, along with several retailers, strongly opposed the measure.
Apparently, “more than one of every five Washingtonians is dangerously overweight”, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says. So perhaps the soda tax will decrease childhood obesity or move the nation’s capital in a new healthier direction. Or maybe the tax will simply leave us craving more sugary soft drinks. Only time (and further protest) will tell. For now, I’m off to get a Big Gulp.