A tax on sugary drinks -- which leads children to consume the equivalent of a five-gallon water jug's worth of sugar every year -- is headed to the ballot in Richmond for voters' consideration.
A business license fee of 1 cent per ounce of "sugar-sweetened beverages sold by local businesses" will be on the Nov. 6 ballot in Richmond, according to the Contra Costa Times. This would impose a tax of 67 cents on two-liter bottles of soda, according to the newspaper.
A tandem ballot measure urging the proceeds to be spent on educational programs for local youths will also appear on the ballot, according to the newspaper.
Councilman Jeff Ritterman, a doctor and former head of cardiology at Kaiser Richmond Medical Center, said that science convinced him that sugar is toxic and that the city needs to be healthy. Too much soda leads to obesity as well as other issues, he said.
"The product is toxic," Ritterman said, in comments recorded by the newspaper. "I didn't know that as a doctor for a lot of years, this is new science."
Both measures headed to the ballot with 5-2 votes. Councilmen Nat Bates and Corky Booze dissented, the newspaper reported.
The tax could generate as much as $8 million in extra revenue for the city, according to Ritterman.
Business owners and opponents said that the tax could force shoppers to buy soda in nearby cities. Ritterman and supporters said they hope nearby cities follow Richmond's example.