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City Council Approves Tax On Soda, Sugary Drinks

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle City Council has approved taxing soda and other sugary beverages to pay for nutrition and education programs.

The ordinance passed on a 7-1 vote Monday calls for a tax of 1.75 cents per ounce on major distributors of beverages such as Pepsi and Coke, sports drinks, energy drinks and other sweetened drinks. Diet drinks were exempted.

Mayor Ed Murray proposed the tax in February to raise millions for programs to promote healthy food choices and help close the learning gap between white and minority students.

Businesses and labor groups spoke out against the tax saying it would hurt jobs and small businesses. Other critics called it regressive saying it would impact low-income consumers.

Public health advocates and others cheered after the measure passed. They say it would cut down on the consumption of sugary drinks that have little nutritional value.

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