While the beverage industry has managed to stem what had been predicted to be a steady stream of beverage taxes at the city, county, and state levels, some localities are still quietly discussing taxes on beverages sweetened with added sugars.
Though a previous tax proposal was defeated in 2010, Washington D.C.’s Council moved to rescind an existing carveout that exempted sodas from the district’s 6 percent sales tax. The Council recently approved an 8 percent tax on beverages that contain natural or artificial sweeteners sold by local retailers.
The 2 percent increase over the existing sales tax went into effect on Oct. 1. Per DCist, beverages that are 100 percent juice or more than 50 percent milk are exempt from this tax.
Together with public health advocates, eight Councilmembers are now backing a measure to replace that tax with a new tax. The proposal would set a tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on retail sales of sweetened beverages.
Beverages exempted would include those with milk as their main ingredient, those made completely from natural or fruit juices, and those with medical uses, per WAMU. Also exempted: alcohol, baby formula, and unsweetened drinks.