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Richmond voters strike down the soda tax bill

Under CC license from Flickr user fimoculous

A city usually famous for its crime is now becoming known for its progressive politics. In Richmond, one of the local city measures that got national attention was the so-called soda tax, which would have taxed sodas at one penny per ounce.

Last night, Richmond voters came down against Measure N.

Spirits were high for the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) as the votes came in. The mood changed as it became clear that Measure N, the RPA’s plan to tax sodas, probably wouldn’t pass.

The measure was designed to fight childhood obesity, but beverage companies and local businesses poured in over $2.5 million to oppose the tax.

Andres Soto, a co-founder of the RPA, tried to look on the bright side.

“That’s a badge of honor that our movement has caused them to reach that deep into their pocket to spend unprecedented amounts of money,” Soto said.

Councilman Jeff Ritterman, who wrote the measure, is disappointed, but still hopeful.

“I predict that there’ll come a time when you pick up a can and on the side of the can it’ll say ‘warning, regular consumption of this beverage will increase your risk for a heart attack, stroke, and diabetes,’ because that’s the truth,” he said.

But this time, voters sided with their local restaurants and grocery stores, whose opposition to the tax effectively killed the measure.