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Alaska city to vote on first state tax on soda, sweet drinks

October 1, 2019

Miami Herald,

Associated Press,

September 30, 2019-

Residents of a northern Alaska community are set to vote on whether to impose the state’s first tax on most sodas and other sweetened drinks. Voters in Utqiagvik are scheduled to vote Tuesday on the proposed tax on drinks sold in the city, the Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday. The proposed ordinance would impose a 1-cent tax per 1 ounce (28 grams) of soda, energy drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages sold in the community at the state’s northern tip. The tax on a 12-ounce (340-gram) can of soda would be 12 cents. A bottle holding 20 ounces (567 grams) would be taxed 20 cents. A 2-liter bottle of soda would cost 67 cents more, while a 12-pack of cans would cost $1.44 more. Fountain drinks also would be taxed by volume, officials said.

The tax does not cover 100% fruit or vegetable juices, milk products, medicinal drinks, baby formula, weight-loss drinks, or alcohol. Qualifying beverages must have at least 2 calories per ounce, which disqualifies zero-calorie sodas and bottled water. The ordinance states that 75% of the tax proceeds would be reserved for youth programs and activities sponsored or conducted by the city.

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