Last month we featured an interview with the Mayor of Berkeley, where he fretted over whether or not Big Soda would be able to stop them from implementing a tax on soft drinks so they could save the people from themselves. The winning quote from that piece was, Honest to God, if they can stop us here, they can stop us anywhere. It turns out that Hizzoner needn’t have worried. The poor will now be protected from their own bad choices by their betters.
Berkeley, Calif., a city known for its progressive politics, made history Tuesday night by approving the first real sin tax on soda in the United States.
Voters approved Measure D, a penny-per-ounce tax, by a three-to-one margin after a bitter campaign battle, with the beverage industry spending more than $2.1 million to oppose the initiative. The pro-tax campaign was bolstered by more than $650,000 from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Berkeley has now done what more than two dozen other cities and states have tried and failed to do in recent years: Put in place a punitive tax on sugar sweetened-beverage tax designed to reduce consumption and raise revenue. The measure, which covers sports drinks, sweet teas and beverage syrups used in coffee shops, would raise the price of a 20-ounce Coca-Cola by about 10 percent. The tax, which does not apply to diet sodas, kicks in Jan. 1, 2015.
So the Deplorable Nanny State Mayor chalks one up in the win column. The article goes on to describe “health advocates” as practically jumping for joy. I do appreciate the fact that the coverage is at least honest enough to refer to it as a punitive tax, which is exactly what it is. But who is being punished with this action? The obvious answer is the poor, who are probably the most likely to be drinking Big Gulps in the first place. The wealthy professors and cocktail party crew don’t need to worry about a ten percent hike in costs, but the people who tend their lawns and gardens, clean their pools and empty their trash might.
But hey… they’ll be more healthy. Once they start riding their bikes to that second job to pay all the taxes, the pounds will just drop off as if by magic. Well done, Berkeley. You’ve really struck a blow for freedom here.