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Daily News Update
A special briefing - California
California soda tax ban is approved by politicians
California's Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that bans any new soda taxes for the next 12 years. This legislation applies to all cities and counties across California. The legislation won't effect existing soda taxes in places such as Berkeley and San Francisco.
The approval of this bill was on condition that a separate ballot measure, which would have required local authorities to get a two-thirds super-majority to approve any new taxes, is withdrawn.
This ballot measure caused great concern because it would have made it more difficult for local governments to increase other taxes such as sales taxes.
In a statement, Jerry Brown said: "Mayors from countless cities have called to voice their alarm and to strongly support the compromise which this bill represents."
Many Republican politicians supported the bill.
Assembly Member Matthew Harper (Republican, Huntington Beach), said: "I find it comical that trying to avoid being overtaxed is considered a shakedown by some members of this Legislature, but that’s just the general nature of the population that’s seated in this body.”
Democrats were less keen on the bill, but reluctantly supported it anyway.
William Dermody, from the American Beverage Association, said: “We’re certainly ready to help lawmakers keep groceries affordable in California."
He added that the bill "would guarantee that local businesses and our consumers wouldn’t be harmed by these kinds of grocery taxes."
The bill passed in the Senate with a 21-7 majority, and the Assembly approved it with a 60-1 majority. It then went to the Governor to sign into law.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, whose plans to increase the city's sales tax were under threat from the ballot measure , said: "I've been in politics a long time, and sometimes you have to do what's necessary to avoid catastrophe."
Mayor Steinberg added that the ballot measure would have meant a $50 million shortfall in his budget.
California is now the third state to ban sugary drink taxes, following Michigan last November, and Arizona in March. Voters in Oregon get to vote on a possible ban in November.