Next week, Richmond has the potential to pass the first municipal soda tax in the nation. The plan, which would impose a one-penny-per-ounce tax is estimated to raise $3 million for the city’s general fund.
But opponents of the idea, saying that the city’s department of revenue would have its hands full helping calculate and collect the tax from 629 businesses in the city, are questioning practicality of the new tax. The retailers of sugary drinks would have to fork over the tax, which would go into effect on inventory they already have. For some small businesses, that means they have to re-inventory their stock – not by container but by ounce.
Opponents also point to the cost that the tax will have on small businesses – where their tax liability could amount to thousands. For instance, The Contra Costa Times points out that selling fewer than a dozen, twelve-ounce drinks per day would cost businesses $500 a year. In order for the proponent’s math to work, each of the affected businesses would have to pay nearly $2,800 each.
Proponents, however, point to an epidemic of obesity in the City’s youth. 51 percent of children are obese. The tax, they say, will help address public health concerns in a similar fashion to cigarettes and alcohol.
Read the full story at the Contra Costa Times.