Advocates collecting signatures for soda tax ballot

17,381 signatures needed to get item on ballot

Soft drinks for sale at K&D Market in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Voters in Oregon’s most populous county might be voting on a soda tax this fall.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that the health advocates behind the proposal must gather 17,381 valid signatures from Multnomah County voters to get the item on the November ballot.

Voters would decide whether to add a tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on sugary drinks, including soda, energy drinks and sweetened teas. That means an 18-cent tax on a 12-ounce can of soda.

The proposal suggests using the tax revenue to help pay for early childhood education, and programs in schools to promote healthy food and lifestyle choices.

The American Heart Association has helped passed similar measures in several California cities as well as Philadelphia and Boulder, Colorado.