DC Council Mulls Tax On Drinks With Natural Sweeteners

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are considering a tax on sugary drinks containing “natural common sweeteners.”

The Washington Post reports the bill proposed Monday by council member Brianne K. Nadeau would levy a 1.5 cent-per-ounce excise tax on the sweet drinks. It wouldn’t apply to alcohol, milk, all-natural juices or drinks with artificial sweeteners, such as diet soda. The newspaper notes this would be one of the highest taxes on sugary drinks in the nation.

The bill would replace the city’s recently passed 2% additional sales tax on soft drinks. Researchers say higher sales taxes don’t affect consumer decisions as the extra cost is added at the register, after a consumer has already picked their product. An excise cost would be imposed on distributors, who would then raise sticker prices.

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