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Council Members Exploring Soda Tax in Montgomery County

November 1, 2017

Bethesda Magazine,

Andrew Metcalf,

October 30,2017-

A “soda tax” is being discussed in Montgomery County. County Council members Tom Hucker and Hans Riemer are exploring the idea to tax sweetened beverages as a way to raise money to fund early-childhood education programs, according to council colleagues. In an interview Wednesday, Hucker said he’s trying to learn more about a potential beverage tax, although he wouldn’t say whether he supports the idea or whether he’s lobbied other council members to support the idea. He said he has met with advocates to talk about the potential benefits of such a tax, but said the meetings weren’t significant.

One advocate who has met with Montgomery County officials about the idea is Leah Marcus from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has backed taxes on sugary drinks in several U.S. cities. Council Vice President Hans Riemer confirmed that he met with Marcus to talk about the idea. He said he also met with opponents of the idea. “I think we need to explore a variety of options to fund early-childhood and after-school programming,” he said.

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