With much sleight of hand – and very little, if any, transparency, the DC Council slipped in an additional increase to the District sugary drink tax, when it passed the DC budget back at the end of May. Proposed by Ward 3 Councilor Mary Cheh as part of the $15.5 billion budget instead of as a standalone policy, the measure took effect with the advent of the new fiscal year this past Tuesday, October 1. Further, the DC soda tax is structured differently than other communities which have generally adopted a soda tax as an excise tax that applies only to specific goods in that the DC model simply expanded the applicability of the District’s 6% sales tax to the previously exempted drink. With this latest increase, that 6% sales tax is increased to 8% for the purchase of sodas and “drinks with natural or artificial sweeteners that contain less than 100 percent juice or at least 50 percent milk purchased in local stores”. Revenues from the additional soda sales tax, estimated at $3.2 million, are earmarked for a new program that allows certain residents with a doctor’s prescription to get a $20 voucher for fruits and vegetables!