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Council Divided On Proposed Soda Tax

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By Peter Granitz

D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh is circulating a draft of a soda tax that she says will fund healthier lunches in schools. But not all of her colleagues on the Council think increasing the cost of soda prices is the best way to raise money.

Soda is currently considered food, which means no sales tax applies to it. The plan would charge one cent for every ounce of sweetened beverages, such as soda and sports drinks. It excludes diet sodas and drinks that are at least 70 percent fruit juice.

Councilman Jack Evans says this plan is representative of the District's tax policies that force businesses to open up shop across the border, like the Prince George's County line along Wards seven and eight.

"There are no movie theaters, there are no restaurants, there are no fast food places. But you cross the border and within 200 feet everyone of those establishments is located. Do you think it's just coincidence?," says Evans.

Evans says the District misses out on upwards of a billion dollars a year in sales tax and revenue to neighboring counties.

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