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San Francisco and Oakland are the latest cities to face soda tax votes

"We don't trust where the money's going to go," one Oakland resident told VICE News.

by Roberto Ferdman
Nov 7 2016, 2:37am

This segment originally aired Oct. 28, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

San Francisco and Oakland will be two of the latest cities to try to tax sugary drinks this election day.

Since 2010, soda taxes have been proposed in more than a dozen states around the country as a way to better address growing health issues like obesity and diabetes.

Yet Berkeley and Philadelphia are the only two U.S. cities that have successfully enacted soda taxes thus far. And the American Beverage Association, which represents the non-alcoholic U.S. beverage industry, is working to make sure neither San Francisco nor Oakland become the third.

“They have unlimited dollars to be able to spend on this,” political strategist for San Francisco’s pro-soda tax campaign Larry Tramutola told VICE News correspondent Roberto Ferdman. “It’s a tax on them, and they would like you to believe it’s a tax on you.”

Larry’s team is trying to win a one-cent tax on every ounce of every drink with added sugar. But the ABA has insisted on calling the soda tax a “grocery tax,” and the tactic has confused a lot of people.

San Francisco grocer Pablo Martinez was featured prominently in an anti-soda tax ad because he was led to believe the tax would apply to everything in his store. “For me, personally, it’s fine,” he said after learning that the tax would only apply to sugary drinks. “It’s like cigarettes.”

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