Election 2016 will go down in history for plenty of reasons. But somewhat overlooked amidst the more sensational results were the decisions in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif., Boulder, Colo., and Cook County, Ill., to begin levying what have become known broadly as “soda” taxes. In so doing, the voters in these locations joined their fellows in Berkeley, Calif., and Philadelphia to bring the total number of American communities with such taxes to a small, but notable, seven.
Yet lest anyone in the dairy sector breathe a sigh of relief, grateful that they’re not in the soda biz and can thus ignore the penny-per-ounce imposts: Not so fast. “Soda,” for the purposes of these taxes, includes the sweetened teas, creamy coffee drinks and sugary juice beverages that many dairies bottle in addition to milk. Indeed, it’s not so much fizzy water or dayglow colors that these soda taxes target, but sugar, pure and simple.