By Lisa Baertlein
LOS ANGELES Nov 7 Voters in two California
cities rejected measures that would have imposed the nation's
first penny-per-ounce taxes on businesses that sell sodas and
other sugary drinks in an effort to boost municipal revenue and
In El Monte, 76.8 percent of voters said no, while in
Richmond, 66.9 percent opposed the measure, according to final
results from Tuesday's election.
Calls to tax sugary drinks have gathered steam as more
cities and states struggle to close budget gaps and American
waistlines continue to expand.
The American Beverage Association - which represents PepsiCo
Inc, Coca-Cola Inc, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc
and other beverage companies - has spent millions of
dollars to beat back soda taxes around the country. The ABA has
a strong record of defeating soda tax efforts.
In September New York City passed the first U.S. ban of
oversized sugary drinks.
A health board outlawed sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces
nearly everywhere they are sold, except groceries and
convenience stores. Violators of the ban, which does not include
diet sodas, face a $200 fine.
About one-third of Americans are obese, and about 10 percent
of the nation's healthcare bill is tied to obesity-related
diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and
hypertension, according to the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development.