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Paid Telephone Lies About Sugary Drink Tax 

Following is a transcript of a call last week.  How many lies (or misstatements or stretching the truth) can you  find?   

BS (Big Soda paid caller): I'm calling on behalf of the Community Coalition against Beverage Taxes and I would like to give you a little information.

On November 6 you and other residents of Richmond will be voting on a beverage tax which will increase significantly the price you pay for soft drinks such as teas, juices, sports drinks like Gatorade, vitamin water and any sort of beverage sold in Richmond.

Now say for example you go to the local supermarket and purchase a 12 pack of any sort of beverage. It will go up in price three or four dollars. Now we are arguing to vote NO on the tax because it is unfair and misleading. They haven't clearly stated what they are going to do with these millions of dollars a year. The supporters claim that the beverage tax will help childhood obesity in Richmond however the money raised goes directly into the City's general fund account meaning the politicians can spend it on themselves if they like or salary hikes for themselves or petty programs. Given Richmond's already strained budget you can bet that the Council won't be using this money for new playgrounds and anti-obesity programs. So can we count on you to join us to vote no on the beverage tax in November?

RR: (Richmond Resident)  Is this going to be a tax on all beverages?

BS: All beverages, Sir. All beverages are going to go up.

RR: Like beer?

BS: Everything!

RR: (unbelieving): Beer and diet pop and all that will go up too?

BS: Yes sir. Everything except for water.

RR: (More unbelieving): Beer and diet pop will go up?

BS: Yup

RR: I heard the beverage companies are paying you guys to do this. Are you paid by the beverage company?

BS: I'm not directly paid by the beverage company. I'm actually paid by a different company. It is funded by the Association for Strategic Advocacy fund committee but a lot of this is funded by the American Beverage Association.

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