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California’s Charter City Can Implement Sweetened Beverage Tax Without Penalty, Court Rules

Santa Cruz — In a ruling in late March, the California Third District Court of Appeals ruled that charter cities such as Santa Cruz were financially punished by the state for legally implementing a sugary drink tax (soda tax) on their residents. I decided I couldn’t.

“The Court of Appeals ruling means cities across California can re-enact public health policies like the sugary drink tax without fear of financial ruin,” said the Santa Cruz City Council member, a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “We are now one step closer to enabling more Californians to benefit from these kinds of policies,” said Martin Watkins of California.

In early June 2018, the 1.5 cents per ounce ballot initiative championed by Watkins et al. was brought in. When the then government suddenly stopped. Jerry Brown signed into law to keep groceries affordable in June 2018, months before the election.

The law contains penal provisions for charter cities that try to prevent taxation on food and implement a sugar drink tax or other food-related tax that robs the city of sales tax revenue, and California legislators facilitated by pressure onAccording to the beverage industry court documents.

“Of course we were disappointed,” said Watkins. “We’ve put a lot of time and energy into creating really great things that reflect our values.”

Shortly after the bill was passed, then-Santa Cruz City Manager Martin Bernal suggested removing the measure from the 2018 ballot for fear of penalties, and it was eventually removed.

In 2020, Jarvis, Fay & Gibson LLP filed a lawsuit on behalf of Watkins and Fresno-based nonprofit Cultiva La Salud. Cultiva La Salud advocates for health equity in the San Joaquin Valley. ChangeLab Solutions The American Heart Association also supported the lawsuit.

Genoveva Islas, Founder and Executive Director of Cultiva La Salud, said: “This ruling is a win for all Californians and paves the way for local health advocates and local governments to tackle the health inequities caused by sugary drink consumption.”

The Court of Appeals decision, which held that the law’s penal provisions were unconstitutional, does not affect the ban on local sugary drink taxes. We can now reconsider putting the sugary drink tax initiative to a vote without fear of penalties.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/04/12/court-rules-charter-cities-can-implement-sugary-drink-tax-without-penalty/ California’s Charter City Can Implement Sweetened Beverage Tax Without Penalty, Court Rules

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