After backing California into setting a ban on local sugar taxes by threatening to bring forward an initiative to ban most local taxes, opponents of soda and beverage taxes are using ballot initiatives in a slightly different tactic in Washington state. According to reports, some $13 million has been raised to back Initiative 1634 (I-1634), touted as a block on taxes on basic grocery items. Critics of the law point out that state law already exempts most food items from sales taxes. Sugar and beverage taxes often vary in their details, with some taxes designed to encourage partial cuts through reformulation, an approach that seemed to see early successes in the UK even ahead of the implementation of its beverage tax.
In South Africa, some beverage companies have since admitted that their reformulation efforts should have been more aggressive. Exemptions also vary widely, and food manufacturers in Bangkok are now lobbying for an exemption for naturally occurring sugars in fruit juices. In New Zealand, proponents of a sugar tax continue to make their case publicly, though the government has been at best noncommittal on the matter. Bermuda’s sugar tax went into effect this month, and other Atlantic island nations are debating similar taxes.
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