America’s weight problem is often the elephant in the room. While the country produces movies and television which paint fit people as the norm, the actual population is overweight. And even more troubling, the amount of people who are outright obese is also on the rise. It’s clear that something needs to be done, and lawmakers in Berkeley think they have a way to help. They’re working to enact a tax on sugary sodas which studies suggest might have significant health benefits.
Mayor Tom Bates of Berkeley remains confident that the tax initiative will pass. One of the points working in it’s favor is the fact that it only needs a majority vote. This is in contrast to a similar initiative in San Francisco which needed 2/3rd of the voters in order to pass. The reason comes down to where the funds are allocated, from what Flavio Maluf has been saying about the situation. San Francisco wanted to stipulate that the tax money could only be used to fund health related programs. Berkeley’s tax would go into the general city funds.
The industry has spent around 1.7 million dollars trying to fight the soda tax. While supporters in Berkeley have only been able to raise around $135,600 in order to raise awareness of the issue.
Proponents of the tax see Berkeley as a first step in the battle against obesity.