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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a beverage tax really a grocery tax?
While city officials are pitching this ballot measure as a health initiative and claiming it’s a tax on beverages, it is really a grocery tax. If you take a closer look, the tax won’t necessarily result in higher prices on beverages only – the increased costs to businesses can be spread to all grocery items.
How much would this latest proposal cost?
Under the latest tax proposal, beverage distributors would be charged an additional 1¢ per ounce for items like soda, juice drinks, sports drinks, and some teas and coffee-based drinks. Those pennies add up and those higher costs could get passed on to grocers who could then choose to pass those costs on to their customers. If that happens, we could see a price spike across any – or all - items in our grocery carts.

To put that another way: Under the current proposal, it won’t really matter if you choose to purchase a sugar-sweetened beverage or not. You could end up paying more in taxes either way.
Where is the money going?
The tax measure San Franciscans will vote on in November would funnel all revenue into the City’s General Fund. All those extra tax dollars could go toward just about anything, and there is no guarantee that the money collected would be spent appropriately.
What would the consequences be for San Francisco?
For starters, the proposed tax is a distraction from the issues our elected officials should be focused on—issues like crime and public safety, homelessness, education, keeping our streets and parks clean and the housing affordability gap.

Above all else, though, San Franciscans stand to suffer. When the distributors have to pay this tax, the trickle-down effects could be harrowing. At a time when many of us are struggling to afford to live in the city, we should not be increasing taxes on groceries.
Who would be most affected by new taxes at the grocery store?
This tax would disproportionately hurt low-income and hardworking families already struggling to get by. According to the USDA, lower-income families spend a much larger percentage of their income on food than higher-income families. That means grocery taxes take a larger share of their income.