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Gray aims to extend sales tax in place of fizzled soda tax

Plans for a citywide tax increase on soda in the District haven't fallen flat after all.

Last week, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray pulled the plug on a proposal by Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) to assess a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on soda. Diet sodas would have been excluded.

But in a last-minute effort to balance the city's budget, Gray has included another form of beverage tax in his recommended fiscal year 2011 budget, the Washington Post has learned.

The revised proposal, which comes despite fierce opposition from the beverage industry, would extend the city's 6 percent sales tax to sodas and other "non-alcoholic beverages with natural or artificial sweeteners." Such beverages currently are excluded from the sales tax because they are considered grocery items.

The proposal, which will be voted on by the council Wednesday, would generate about $8 million in revenue. About $6.5 million would be used to fund Cheh's Healthy Schools initiative, which requires city schools serve more fresh fruits and vegetables to students. The remainder of the revenue would go into the general fund.

The current proposal would add about 10 to 12 cents on the bottle of a two-liter of soda. Cheh's initial proposal would have increased the cost of a two-liter by about 67 cents.

--Tim Craig

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  May 25, 2010; 7:49 PM ET
Categories:  Budget , D.C. Council , Tim Craig  
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Comments

Smart move by Gray...collective way to lead!! I'll miss him as Chair, but will love him as Mayor!!!

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | May 25, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I pay a sales tax in Va when I buy soda or bottled water. Gray should tax bottled water too. Get the leftist pinko commie yuppies were it hurts. Just don't tax my prune juice soda please in Dc. Hey Vinnie you can be a Pepper to. Dr Pepper contain prune juice.

Posted by: sheepherder | May 25, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Is there anyone on the council who is legally sane but Mr Gray? Let's see the options available:
1. pay 12 more cents on a can of soda
2. pay 67 more cents on a two liter bottle of soda.
3. Buy my soda in Maryland.

The only ones who will be affected by this proposal are the inner city poor who can't shop readily in Maryland.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | May 25, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Excellent.

Did everyone see the soda executives' ad this morning, full color, full page, in the Washington Post? What does that cost, $75k or more?

The ad has the ironic temerity to tell us how "working people won't be able to afford one cent per ounce of the sugared water. Yet they can afford to poisen themselves. YET they can afford to pay for soda executives' full page ads in national newspapers. Right.

Call your DC Council member now to say you support the modest tax on sugared water. If you live in a red state of obese necks, or PG land of diabetes cases, kindly obese-butt out.

Posted by: SydneyP | May 25, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Excellent.

Did everyone see the soda executives' ad this morning, full color, full page, in the Washington Post? What does that cost, $75k or more?

The ad has the ironic temerity to tell us how "working people won't be able to afford one cent per ounce of the sugared water. Yet they can afford to poisen themselves. YET they can afford to pay for soda executives' full page ads in national newspapers. Right.

Call your DC Council member now to say you support the modest tax on sugared water. If you live in a red state of obese necks, or PG land of diabetes cases, kindly obese-butt out.

Posted by: SydneyP | May 25, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

If the merchants of obesity fear this tax so much, I'm all for it.

I mean, it's sugar water. It's pure empty calories putting you on the fast track to diabetes and an early grave. Heck yes we should tax it.

Posted by: kcx7 | May 25, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Is there anything these bas-turds won't tax? Coming soon, a tax on water and air. Oh wait, you can't drink the water in DC, so they can't make any money on that. And if you fools think this money will be used for a healthy schools intiative, just take a look at the bag tax money that is already being diverted to other uses. The Anacostia River won't see a nickel from the bag tax. I will vote against everyone of the idiots who support this new tax.

Posted by: PepperDr | May 25, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

The things we shouldn't be taxing are necessities. Food is. Soda isn't. If the tax makes it impossible for people to afford it, then their health will improve - but they'll still be able to drink. There are abundant other options.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | May 25, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

About $6.5 million would be used to fund Cheh's Healthy Schools initiative, which requires city schools serve more fresh fruits and vegetables to students. The remainder of the revenue would go into the general fund.
======================
Translation-
Parents are too lazy or patently stupid to pack the youngster's lunches with fresh fruit and vegetables. Teach a person to fish, not give them the fish, Council Members.

The $6.5 million revenue figure assumes that people will actually buy soft-drinks in DC, vice Virginia or Maryland.

People will boycott soft drinks from DC stores, filling stations and other small shops.

I don't know who got the idea to start all this tax garbage, but it is getting really lame and someone should stand-up and take responsibility for this mess, like King Obonehead.

An increase in taxes, will decrease productivity and JOBS!!!

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | May 25, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

The only ones who will be affected by this proposal are the inner city poor who can't shop readily in Maryland.
========================

Maryland already has a 6% sales tax on soda -- just like the one the Council is considering. So, those shopping in Maryland will pay the same price as those purchasing in D.C.

Posted by: 20017dc | May 25, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Tell me again why alcohol is exempt from increased taxes. There is far more alcohol consumed in D.C. than soda's. Tax it. Tax it and tax it some more. Alcohol kills more people in the U.S. each year than sodas. How many people die from soda poisoning each year? None. Each year 20,000 people die from alcohol. I guess the fact that they don't care because they're intoxicated makes it easy for the alcohol lobby to escape the taxes they should be paying.

Posted by: SoupLine | May 25, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

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