Want Sugary Soda in Berkeley? Prepare to Pay More

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Residents of Berkeley, Calif., will soon be paying a little more for sugared soda and energy drinks.

Nearly 75 percent of Berkeley voters approved a new tax on those beverages on Election Day. According to CNN Money, the 1-cent-an-ounce tax equates to a 12-cent increase on a can of soda and a 68-cent increase on a 2-liter bottle.

CNN Money said advocates of the measure argued that “overwhelming scientific evidence shows that consumption of sugary drinks causes widespread health problems, starting in childhood.” Proponents pointed to links between sugary drinks and tooth decay, diabetes and heart disease.

The new tax exempts diet sodas, chocolate milk and 100 percent juice drinks.

A similar sugared-drink tax measure failed to receive the two-thirds super-majority it needed to pass in San Francisco, CNN Money said.

Elsewhere across the country, voters passed a number of ballot measures that will impact some people’s personal finances, including these:

  • Minimum wage hikes. According to NBC, voters in four states passed initiatives raising the minimum wage. “Beginning in January, an estimated 420,000 of the lowest-paid workers in Alaska, Arkansas, South Dakota and Nebraska will see their paychecks grow,” NBC said. Click here to see what minimum-wage workers will earn in those states come 2015. Voters in San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., also approved a hike in their minimum wage.
  • Paid sick time. In Massachusetts, voters backed a measure allowing workers at businesses with a minimum of 11 employees to earn paid sick time, Boston.com said. “Workers can earn one hour of paid time off for personal illness or medical appointments, for an illness in the family, or to deal with a domestic abuse situation for every 30 hours worked,” up to a maximum of 40 paid hours per year, according to Boston.com.
  • Millionaires tax. Voters in Illinois think millionaires should pony up more money for education. According to The Associated Press, Illinois voters supported a 3 percent tax on income of more than $1 million. The non-binding referendum vote doesn’t impact existing laws, but it lets legislators know what Illinois voters think.

Did any votes in your neck of the woods impact your wallet? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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