Boulder voters to decide on sugary drink tax

9NEWS @ 4. 10/27/2016

KUSA - Whether it’s from a soda fountain or comes in a can, if your sweet drink fix contains sugar, it's up for a proposed tax -- and not just anywhere, but in one of the healthiest cities in Colorado and the nation.

"We're proposing a two cents per ounce tax on sugary drinks in the city of Boulder," said Angelique Espinoza, campaign manager with Healthy Boulder Kids.

The proposal is known as 2H, which would be an excise tax on distributors of sugary sodas and drinks within Boulder. Supporters say if voters approve the measure, the tax could raise as much as $3.8 million per year, which would go toward unspecified programs designed to promote a healthier lifestyle for kids.

"This is the first generation that's actually projected to live a shorter lifespan than their parents because of the obesity epidemic," Espinoza said.

There would be some exceptions to the tax. It would not apply to diet soda drinks, 100-percent fruit juice, milk nor milk substitutes like soy and almond milk. However, opponents of 2H say the tax won't encourage healthier choices.

"It's lifestyles that make people healthy, it's not a tax, said Matthew Moseley, spokesperson for the ‘No On 2H Campaign.’ ”Because if we're talking about taxes, then let's also tax potato chips and pizza -- and let's tax candy bars because they have way more sugar than a lot of drinks do."

Opponents also warn that while the tax would be applied to distributors and not directly on consumers, that doesn’t mean customers wouldn’t feel the effects of the tax.

"Retailers have to decide – ‘do we eat the cost, do we pass it along to consumers or do we spread it around to all the goods sold?’ So, they may put it on two slices of pizza and a drink special," Moseley said.

Supporters, though, say the proposal is one way to deal with health issues associated with sugary drinks.

"Obesity is a real problem in our nation and even in our healthy Boulder," Espinoza said.

It will now be up to Boulder voters to decide whether a tax on sugary drinks is the right way to address the problem.

Here is a look at the proposed measure

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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