Full Board of Supervisors will vote on soda tax next Tuesday July 22, with 8 out of 11 Supervisors now having expressed public support
Tax will fund nutrition, health, and physical activity programs in public schools, parks, health centers, and elsewhere, to address the impacts of diabetes, obesity, and other negative health effects associated with these drinks
San Francisco, CA - Today, the Budget and Finance Committee of the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to forward the soda tax to the full Board of Supervisors with a recommendation to support the measure and place it on the November 2014 ballot. The full Board of Supervisors will vote on the measure next Tuesday July 22.
The proposal - which will place a two penny per ounce tax on sodas and other sugary beverages to fund nutrition, health, and active recreation programs - is sponsored by Supervisors Eric Mar, Scott Wiener, John Avalos, Malia Cohen, David Chiu and David Campos. Supervisors London Breed and Mark Farrell also cast a vote in favor of the legislation at today's Budget Committee hearing, meaning that 8 Supervisors have now expressed public support.
"This tax will drive down consumption of sodas and other sugary beverages, while providing funding for key programs to improve our city's health," said Supervisor Wiener. "These drinks are making San Francisco residents - including children - sick, and we need to address the growing diabetes epidemic in our city. Now is the time to act."
"We are on the verge of realizing years of hard work by our broad community coalition," said Supervisor Mar. "Next week the full Board of Supervisors can join the Budget and Finance Committee in showing the country that San Francisco is in unanimous support of this social justice measure."
The tax is estimated to generate between $35-$52 million annually and to reduce consumption of sugary beverages by up to 31%. Proceeds of the tax will be legally dedicated to funding physical activity and nutrition programs in San Francisco public schools (e.g., school lunch, physical education, and after-school programs), active recreation programs in San Francisco parks, food access, outreach and chronic disease prevention programs in the Department of Public Health, and grants to community-based organizations providing health, nutrition, and physical activity programs.
Under the terms of the legislation, disadvantaged/low-income communities, including those most impacted by the diabetes and obesity epidemics, will be prioritized in funding decisions. Because the tax proceeds will be legally restricted to nutrition, health, and physical activity programs, it will require a 2/3 affirmative vote. The measure is structured to require that funding be in addition to current funding levels and not utilized as replacement funding for existing programs.
A growing grassroots coalition of healthcare, education, and community leaders and organizations are supporting the measure, including the San Francisco Board of Education, the Citywide PTA, the Hospital Council of Northern California, the San Francisco Medical Society, the California Medical Association, the California Nurses Association, the San Francisco Democratic Party, the American Heart Association, the San Francisco Food Bank, the Parent Political Action Committee and more. Elected officials in support include State Senator Mark Leno, Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano and Phil Ting, District Attorney George Gascon, and former Assemblymember Fiona Ma.