Nikita Anderson pours a glass of kombucha at the Rowdy Mermaid in Boulder on Nov. 2. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)
On Election Day, voters in Boulder approved by an 8-point margin a tax on distributors of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. At 2 cents per ounce, it’s the steepest such measure in any of the seven U.S. cities that tax sugary drinks.
Now, to implement it.
According to Kathy Haddock — the senior assistant city attorney who was Boulder’s primary legal liaison on the issue during what was an unusually contentious and uniquely expensive campaign — a group of staff members will soon assemble to prepare for the rollout of the ordinance, scheduled for July 1.
Haddock said the city hasn’t begun sorting through the various nuances and challenges of administering the tax.
But one scenario she and other Boulder staffers know they’ll have to prepare for involves business owners heading out of city limits to exploit what could be a loophole in the plan.
It seems like an easy way to skirt the rules: If a restaurant owner wants to avoid paying more to a distributor for a delivery of, say, sugar-sweetened lemonade, why not drive to Louisville or Longmont and buy the product there, where the tax is not in effect?
“I don’t know if that person does become a distributor or not, or how we would implement it,” Haddock said. “That’s one of those real-life examples where we’ll be thinking about how’s the appropriate way to treat…
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