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Santa Cruz City Council passes sugary drink tax on November ballot

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) – The city of Santa Cruz unanimously passed a measure to put a tax on sugary drinks on November's ballot.

The funding from this measure could help update parks and public health efforts.

This measure would charge a two-cent tax per fluid ounce on sugar sweetened beverages to any sellers in the city. Many have mixed feelings...

Five years ago the Santa Cruz City Council approved a one-cent-per-ounce sugar sweetened beverages, but Governor Jerry Brown signed the "Keep Groceries Affordable Act," forcing the city to remove the item from the ballot.

City council is re-introducing the measure now, in hopes of using funding to invest in community health efforts.

Mia Borad, a coffee shop manager of Verve in downtown Santa Cruz, shares how she thinks this new measure may impact her business. 

“[It] would have much of an impact. I think it would [deter] people away from the sugary drinks, but those that have their consistent go-to drinks probably won’t change their order," said Borad.

The tax doesn’t apply to diet soda, natural juices, milk, diet supplements or alcohol, but only to beverages with sugar.

Some people shared their concerns that they are free to not purchase unhealthy food, while others are saying that placing a modest tax on sugary drinks has positive health benefits.

A report from the city says over 50 countries have implemented this measure, and it shows a benefit of healthier consumer choices.

Others may choose a different drink option if this measure goes into effect.

“There is also an option to not get your drink sweetened, and you can add sugar separately after the fact, so those might be more popular if the measure were to go into effect," Board said.

The city says a daily sugary drink leads to higher incidences of heart disease, liver disease and metabolic disorder, showing a few health concerns linked to sugary drinks.

The measure is scheduled to be on the November ballot for voters in Santa Cruz to decide.

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Briana Mathaw


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