Berkeley city council allocates soda tax funds

Last week Berkeley City Council unanimously accepted most of the Sugar Sweetened Beverage Panel of Experts recommendations (Items 33 and 34) to invest into school and community-based efforts to reduce sugary drink consumption and address the health disparities associated with the overconsumption of sugary drinks. 

Just over a year since the voters of Berkeley passed Measure D, which levies a 1 cent per ounce tax on the distribution of sugary drinks, the Berkeley City Council approved $1.75 million for an RFP process that will commence in February with investments slated to reach community groups and schools starting in July 2016.

Per California tax law-- the amount of available funding must be decoupled from the tax revenues  and the $2 million request had to be made from the general fund.  After reviewing the revenue projections, and considering that the the Berkeley City Council had already forward funded $500,000, they approved $1.5 million for the upcoming RFP process. 

Some highlights from last night's Council action:

  • $1.5 Million was made available from Berkeley's General Fund to support the recommendations by the Panel of Experts to reduce sugary drink consumption and address the health disparities that result from consuming sugary drinks.
  • Up to 42.5% will go to school-based prevention efforts
  • At least 42.5% will go to community based efforts
  • 15% will be reserved for administration and evaluation of the grant process. 
  • An additional $250,000 will be released in mini-grants and other marketing/branding initiatives.  (An additional $250k had been forwarded to BUSD last May to supplement the district's cooking and gardening program)

26/01/2016
Children's Health Fund

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Children's Health Fund: Set up by Jamie Oliver and Sustain in August 2015, the aim is to get restaurants to volunteer to put a 10p levy on non-alcoholic soft drinks with added sugar. This money will be paid into the Children’s Health Fund to support programmes and schemes aimed at improving children’s health and food education.

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