Richmond 'Soda Tax' Unpalatable to Voters

It seems Californians are not ready to tax sugary drinks as a way of reducing obesity.

Two measures -- one in Richmond, and one near Los Angeles -- both failed at the polls last night. Supporters of Richmond's soda tax say they will keep fighting to reduce how many high-calorie sodas we drink.

As results came in, a cheer went up from opponents of the soda tax when they heard voters were rejecting the measure to charge businesses a penny-per-ounce for every sugary drink they sell.

Richmond mini-mart owner Ramon Ramirez says the added cost would have driven away customers.

"Whoever thought about this is not really thinking about the community," Ramirez said.

Richmond city councilman Jeff Ritterman championed the measure as a way of funding youth anti-obesity programs.

"This generated an amazing community wide conversation and what you find is people even against it, not drinking soda now," Ritterman says.

Despite the defeat, Ritterman wants to help other cities get a soda tax passed. But he’ll still have to take on the American Beverage Association, which spent $2.5 million to defeat the Richmond measure. His campaign raised $70,000.

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