Richmond Considers Taxing Sugary Sodas

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    Dozens of people attended a town hall meeting in Richmond Monday night at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church. 

    They came to listen to a discussion about the possible link between sugary drinks and African American health disparities. "This is the opportunity to raise ourselves up through Measure N," Doria Robinson said.

    Robinson is one of four speakers who expressed themselves about the controversial measure.

    Those who want the tax say drinks packed with sugar are too available to young people of color. Voters in Richmond are being asked to approve a tax on soda and other sugary drinks.

    If the measure passed, it will be the first city in the nation to impose a penny per ounce tax on businesses that sell soft drinks.

    "We have to start some where to make a dent in obesity and hearth disease," Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said.  "Big soda manufacturers are spending $2.5 million dollars on this campaign. They have a lot of profits to loose."

    Richmond City Council member Jeff Ritterman invited Dr. Maya Rockeymoore to speak. She is the president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions.

    Not everyone attending the town hall meeting was for taxing soda.

    Don Gosney was there and he is against taxing sugary drinks. "What concerns me is those for the tax see this issue as black and white," Gosney said.

    "There may be other things in this community that cause childhood obesity."