Around Town | February 2, 2018 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 2, 2018

Around Town

LIQUID ASSETS ... Armed with paperwork, a Double Gulp cup from 7-Eleven and a handful of sugar packets, local dentist Ken Horowitz came to City Hall on Monday to make a fresh pitch for a soda tax. Palo Alto, he told the City Council, should follow the examples of Berkeley, Albany, Oakland and San Francisco and move ahead with such a tax, which would be levied on distributors and fund nutrition programs and dental subsidies for low-income residents. To make his pitch more vivid, Horowitz brought the council 17 packets of sugar: the amount that he said it takes to make 20 fluid ounces of Coca-Cola (alas, he couldn't get a hold of the 50 packets necessary to demonstrate what it takes to fill a Double Gulp). Over the past month, Horowitz has been researching other ordinances, crunching numbers and lobbying the council to take up the cause. Horowitz said that not a single dentist in Palo Alto takes Denti-Cal (the dental program for low-income residents under Medi-Cal) because the subsidies dentists receive are generally lower than the cost of providing service. The revenues from the new sugar-beverage tax, he said, can remedy this by providing stipends to those who accept the insurance. "We can do a lot of good in the area of tooth decay," Horowitz told the council on Jan. 22, when he first introduced his proposal. This week, he renewed his pitch and asked the council to produce a "colleagues' memo" that would pave the way for placing the tax on the November ballot. Horowitz proposed taxing sugary beverages at a rate of 1 cent per fluid ounce, as Albany and Berkeley do.

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