October 7, 2019-
A majority of the D.C. Council wants to impose one of the highest taxes on sugary drinks in the nation, driving up the cost of a soda in the capital city. A bill announced Monday would levy a 1.5 cent-per-ounce excise tax on sweetened beverages, adding one dollar to the price of a two-liter bottle. The tax applies to sugary drinks with any “natural common sweeteners,” sweeping up beverages such as Gatorade, sweetened iced coffee and orange juice with added sugar. The bill would not affect diet soda and other drinks with artificial sweeteners, beverages with milk as the primary ingredient, alcohol, and all-natural juices.
The legislation is aimed at improving health in a city where residents in some low-income neighborhoods in Northeast and Southeast struggle with high rates of obesity and diabetes. “On average, children consume 30 gallons of sugary drinks a year. That’s a bathtub full. It’s a huge health risk,” said council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), the bill’s author. “We need a little bit of stick in addition to the carrot.”