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Soda taxes in the US

In the last few months, a backlash against soda taxes has begun in the US, and it started off with Santa Fe.

In a special election last May, voters in Santa Fe, New Mexico resoundingly rejected a proposed soda tax for their city. In some districts, the 'no' vote reached an astonishing 70% as residents and business owners made their opinions known on this regressive tax.


In October, local politicians in Chicago voted to repeal a soda tax that had only been in effect for 10 weeks. But during those 10 weeks, small businesses, beverage industry workers, residents and politicians all came together to call for the tax to be given the boot.

In a four-hour meeting, County Commissioners, led by Commissioner Sean M Morrison, voted 15-1 to repeal the tax. In his closing remarks, Commissioner Morrison pointed out that local residents were being over-taxed, and the soda tax was just too much.


In November, Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that bans soda taxes anywhere in the state. And a similar ban on taxes has been signed into law in Arizona too.

The bill, introduced by Senator Pete MacGregor, bans local cities and counties from introducing any taxes on food, drinks, or chewing gum, in a pre-emptive strike against future soda taxes.

Following the passage of the bill, Senator MacGregor said: "We can't have a patchwork of certain cities and certain counties tax certain items, and other's don't. This will kill these cities' economy."

The legislation supported by industry, was approved by a 31-5 majority in the Senate.


Last month, politicians in California voted to ban soda taxes for the next 12 years, after agreeing on a compromise which would see a ballot measure requiring a super-majority for all new tax increases dropped.

Voters in Oregon look set to vote on a possible ban in November's elections, and moves are underway to introduce bans in Washington state and Pennsylvania too.

The Pennsylvania effort is being spearheaded by Representative Mark Mustio, and could go to a vote in the local legislature in the next few weeks.