WNA endorses proposed Multnomah County measure to tax sugary drinks

Is it healthful for children to consume sugary drinks?  A growing number of people are coming to the conclusion that it is not.  Some cities—Philadelphia, Oakland, San Francisco, Boulder, Colorado, among others—have passed a tax on sugary drinks. The Navajo Nation also supports a tax.

At the August Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA) meeting, Dante Haruna, a political organizer with Multnomah County’s “Yes for Healthy Kids and Education” campaign, made a presentation and requested WNA’s endorsement of a 2018 ballot measure.

“The point of the ballot measure is to reduce over consumption of sugary drinks. Multiple studies show a 10-20% reduction [of these harmful beverages] with an increase in water and milk consumption,” said Haruna.

Scientists throughout the world have proven that consuming too much sugar is harmful to adult and children’s health and can result in diabetes, high cholesterol and/or tooth decay.

The measure calls for a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks. Products subject to the tax include sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks and sweetened teas. Not included are infant formula, milk products, natural fruit and vegetable juices. The tax is not applied at point of sale, but to distributors. For example, a distributor would pay 18 cents to the county for a twelve-ounce bottle of sugary drink.

The tax would raise an estimated $28.4 million per year in Multnomah County, half of which would expand preschool for low-income children in the county. The remainder would go toward playground improvements and school gardens that encourage exercise and healthy eating for kids.

The WNA board endorsed the Multnomah County Children’s Health and Education Act at their August 16th meeting.

Anyone interested in volunteering to collect signatures to get the measure on the ballot, or any organization that wants to host a community meeting, can contact the Coalition at info@healthykidsmultnomah.org or call (971) 319-4092.