4 Cities Approve Taxes on Sugary Drinks

Four U.S. cities have voted in favor of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, affecting everything from cola and energy drinks to sports drinks and iced tea.

In the California cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, voters approved a penny-per-ounce levy on nonalcoholic beverages containing caloric sweeteners, while Boulder, Colo., residents approved a tax of 2 cents per ounce, The Wall Street Journal reported. The news comes the same day Illinois' Cook County, the second most-populated county in the country and part of the Chicago metropolitan area, will vote on a penny-per-ounce tax that also would include beverages containing zero-calorie sweeteners.

The new taxes arrive two years after another California city, Berkeley, approved a cent-per-ounce tax, and only months after Philadelphia passed a levy of 1.5 cents per ounce on nonalcoholic beverages with added sweeteners. The beverage industry has filed a suit to block the Pennsylvania city's tax from going into effect.

Tax proponents claim that sugary beverages contribute to such maladies as obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, and that money received from the taxes can go toward health programs or budget shortfalls. Beverage companies, on the other hand, claim that the taxes unfairly single out their products and increase grocery bills.

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