Oakland's City Council voted unanimously to place a soda tax on the November ballot. If approved, Oakland would become the second city in the nation, after Berkeley, where a fee is charged on sugar-sweetened beverages.
Councilwoman Annie Campbell Washington sponsored the measure and expects big pushback from the beverage industry.
"We're expecting a huge fight," she said. "We saw in Berkeley that the beverage industry is willing to pour millions and millions into the fight against these kinds of taxes, and we expect the same thing here."
The Oakland measure is very similar to the one passed in Berkeley in 2014. It would levy a penny-per-ounce fee on most sugar-sweetened beverages (sodas, energy drinks, fruit-flavored beverages and more). The fee would be paid by distributors but is expected to be passed through to consumers.
Washington said the fee is projected to raise $6 million to $10 million for Oakland. An advisory panel would recommend health programs to fund with the generated revenue, but monies from the fee would not be earmarked for specific programs.