When municipalities and states in this country consider taxing soda and other sugary beverages — something Boulder will vote on in November — the American Beverage Association is often quick to organize local coalitions of concerned businesses who oppose such taxes.
On Wednesday, the ABA-funded issue committee Stop the Beverage and Grocery Tax, which has raised more than $200,000 to date to fight the Boulder proposal, announced the formation of No On 2H. It's a coalition of more than 30 companies and restaurants who stand against the tax.
Boulder's coalition includes Bova's Market & Grill, The Sink, T/ACO, Zolo Grill, Mustard's Last Stand, Tahona Tequila Bistro, Salvaggio's Deli and Ball Corporation beverage can producers, plus about 25 others.
"Our local businesses and their customers need our support, not red tape," a news release announcing the coalition read. "In Boulder, which is already expensive enough for hard-working families, we shouldn't be focused on taxes that will make our city more expensive. Boulder consumers, restaurants and grocers simply can't afford it."
What's proposed is a new 2-cents-per-ounce excise tax on distributors of soda and other drinks with at least 5 grams of added sweetener per 12 ounces. Milk products, baby formula, medicinal drinks and alcohol would be exempted.
The group pushing the tax — Healthy Boulder Kids — has its own list of supporting businesses, organizations and individuals, including the Boulder County Commissioners, Boulder County Public Health, the Latino Task Force of Boulder County, Clinica Family Health Services and the American Heart Association.
Healthy Boulder Kids also lists among its endorsements Boulder City Council members Aaron Brockett, Sam Weaver and Mary Young. Several other prominent local politicians — including Boulder Valley School District Board of Education President Sam Fuqua — have also signed on.
The campaign for the tax has out-raised the ABA by more than double, according to campaign filings last week that showed Healthy Boulder Kids with more than $451,000 in contributions. Most of that money comes from Healthier Colorado and the American Heart Association.
The proposed soda tax will be referred to on ballots as item 2H — hence the opposing coalition's name.