City council leaders In Richmond voted 5-2 on Tuesday night to put a special soda tax proposal on the November 6 ballot. The soda tax would add a one cent per ounce surcharge to soda and other sugary fruit drinks that contain less than ten percent juice.
Under this ordinance, grocery stores, markets, and other vendors that sell beverages would pay the business license fee and monitor ounces sold per year. If residents approve the measure, Richmond would be the first city in the country to tax soda in the fight against obesity.
“I would like us to use the tax revenue in programs that prevent childhood obesity, like healthy school gardens and nutrition classes and cooking classes in the schools,” said Richmond City Councilman Jeff Ritterman, who led the push for the tax and is also a doctor. “We’d also like to provide adequate sports fields and teams for our children as well as programs that fight against childhood obesity.”