According to media sources, the campaigns for and against a proposed 1-cent per ounce excise tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) sold in Telluride, Colorado, have stepped up their efforts in advance of November voting. Primarily funded by a Houston-based hedge fund, which donated $50,000 to the cause, “Kick the Can Telluride” has reportedly taken its lead from similar campaigns in El Monte, California, and Richmond, Virginia, and urged local voters to back ballot measure 2A, claiming that the estimated annual revenues of $200,000 would support youth health initiatives now funded by three-year U.S. Department of Education Physical Education Program grants.
“If passed, the measure would be the first town-level excise tax on sugarsweetened beverages in the United States,” reports The (Telluride) Watch in an October 16, 2013, article about the debate.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Beverage Association has apparently joined with local business owners in countering the proposal with its own “No on 2A” campaign. In particular, business owners have expressed concern that even with a promised 10-percent reimbursement on the excise taxes they pay, compliance with the proposed regulations would involve expensive updates to store computer infrastructure and possibly discourage tourists from shopping in town. “Folks visiting from out of town that land in Montrose might hear about Telluride’s soda tax and might be persuaded to do all their grocery shopping for their ski vacation in Montrose, instead of right here,” one owner was quoted as saying. See Telluride Daily Planet, October 16, 2013.