Lopsided election night tax approvals in Boulder, Colo., San Francisco, and two other Bay Area cities, were by public referendums that proponents waged largely on the basis of public health. The taxes, like the first big beverage levy passed two years ago in nearby Berkeley, will apply to drinks with added sugar.
Cook County, Ill., like Philadelphia (but with triple the population), will include beverages with artificial sweeteners. And the president of the county commissioners, like Mayor Kenney, emphasized revenue: The county faced a large budget gap and potential layoffs. Kenney wanted to expand pre-kindergarten and improve recreation centers.
Figures were not yet available for Cook County but are expected to be high. The industry laid out more than $10.6 million in Philadelphia, most of it from the American Beverage Association; pro-tax forces spent about $2.5 million. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Texas billionaires John and Laura Arnold have led most of the spending in favor of the taxes, with a Bloomberg adviser saying earlier this week that $1 million would go into supporting the Cook County effort.