Nation’s first soda tax

Voters in Berkeley approve tax on soda and other sugary beverages

Berkeley passed the nation’s first tax on soda and other sugary beverages on Nov. 4, but a similar measure in San Francisco failed to garner the two-thirds vote it needed to become law.

The soda industry has spent big money in recent years to defeat soda taxes in more than 30 cities around the country, and spent more than $10 million campaigning against the measures in Berkeley and San Francisco, according to The Associated Press.

While some say Berkeley’s penny-per-ounce tax may set an example for the rest of the nation, Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the American Beverage Association, downplayed its significance. “Berkeley is very eclectic,” he said. “It doesn’t look like Anytown, USA.” Salazar also said voters in San Francisco “made it clear that they can decide for themselves what to eat and drink.”