Seattle Follows San Francisco, Philadelphia In Passing Job-Killing Soda Tax

Following in the footsteps of Boulder, Philadelphia, Oakland and San Francisco, Seattle has approved its own version of a job-killing soda tax.

In a 7-1 vote with one councilmember absent, the Seattle City Council passed the tax on soda distributors by an overwhelming margin. The council ultimately agreed on a tax rate of $1.75 per ounce, which translates to about $1.18 for a 2-litre bottle of soda. Unless opponents of the measure succeed in blocking it, the tax will be collected beginning next year, the Seattle Times reported.

A coalition involving restaurant owners, grocery owners and the local chamber of commerce opposed the bill, which was backed by the American Heart Association. One grocery owner was quoted in The Seattle Times discussing how the tax would hurt his business. Husik Harutyunyan, who owns a small grocery store in North Seattle, urged the council to reject the tax. He said his customers may begin buying soda in Shoreline, Wash. if the tax leads him to raise his prices.

“I have to close my store and go find some job,” the 44-year-old told the Seattle Times.

Diet soda won’t be taxed, while baby formula, medicine, weight-loss drinks and 100% fruit juice will also be exempt. Sports drinks like Gatorade, energy drinks like Red Bull and fruit drinks like Sunny D will all be taxed, along with the syrups used in fountain soda. It remains unclear whether the tax will apply to the syrups used in flavored lattes like those served at Starbucks, the Times reported.

The council will use the revenues from the tax - about $15 million a year – to help fund healthful-eating programs like “Fresh Bucks,” which will help people with food stamps buy more healthy food. The council will also disburse funds to soup kitchens and food pantries. Anti-obesity advocates rejoiced after the measure was passed. “It’s a huge win for Seattle,” said Victor Colman, director of the Seattle-based Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition.

“It’s not a panacea for the problem of childhood obesity, but it’s a huge marker to take this step. Consumption drops will happen, and we’re going to see stronger health in the communities that need this the most.”

The tax, initially proposed by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, was debated for months after some labor unions warned that the plan would be a burden for entrepreneurs and result in job losses. But luckily for the supermarket employees and teamsters who will lose their jobs because of this tax, the council has set aside some of the revenues for job retraining programs.

As the receipt below shows, a 10 pack of flavored water purchased in Philadelphia carries a 51% beverage tax. And since PA has a sales tax of 6% and Philly already charges another 2%, the total sales tax was 8%. In other words, a purchase which until last year came to $6.47 had overnight become $9.75.

The dramatic price increase led to a 30% to 50% drop in beverage sales, forcing supermarkets and beverage distributors to lay off some staff.


lil dirtball Wed, 06/07/2017 - 00:09 Permalink

'Soft drinks' and everything associated with them - from unions to pro sports to fat people - could slide off the earth and the world would be a better place.

Tall Tom man of Wool Wed, 06/07/2017 - 00:47 Permalink

  I stand at 6' 7" and weigh in at 180 lbs. I drink 3 to 4 liters of Mountain Dew...per day...every day. Come on over to my home and call me my face. Thomas O'Brien12223B Woodside AveLakeside, Ca USA People are fat because they overeat fatty foods. They are gluttons who sit on their ass and warch TeeVee as the styff their faces instead of exercising. The "one size fits all"' mentality if SOCIALISM does not work as we are a Nation of INDIVIDUALS with different desires and needs. Looking forward to your visit you fucking socialist

In reply to by man of Wool

SheHunter Tall Tom Wed, 06/07/2017 - 01:32 Permalink

You tell 'em!I'm no Mountain Dew fan but you nailed it.  I drink 2 or 3 good brews a day, eat what I want and when I want.  But I also am mega active every day.  No vegging and no butt atrophy.  The government selectivly singling out the soda companies is asinine.  How many calories in a triple mocha Starbucks latte?  Oh wait... we can't punish Schultz.  He's a revered Jew who likely will be on the dem prez platform before long.

In reply to by Tall Tom

insidious Wed, 06/07/2017 - 00:20 Permalink

I live in Seattle. I came here because it's a beautiful place with with incredible outdoors opportunities - which I have enjoyed for many years. I stay because my kids and my wife's mother live here. It is insanely liberal and outrageously expensive. The people in power are about as far left as you can get and still be in the 48 states.

merizobeach truthseeker47 Wed, 06/07/2017 - 01:32 Permalink

"The council ultimately agreed on a tax rate of $1.75 per ounce, which translates to about $1.18 for a 2-litre bottle of soda."Does this have something to do with why the old math questions required before commenting were eliminated?Ok, it's easy enough to see that it is meant to say 1.75 cents per ounce, but is the writer really and necessarily in such a hurry to post the article that he can't read what he's typed even once before he hits submit?

In reply to by truthseeker47

adr Wed, 06/07/2017 - 00:30 Permalink

The snowflakes and social justice warriors will never tax the Frappuccinos that make a Pepsi look like a diet drink.  A 24oz Venti Caramel Macciato Frappuccino has 510 calories, 17 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 65mg of cholesterol, 320mg of sodium, and 85 grams of sugar. That's if you believe they use the proper amount of coffee. But yeah, soft drinks are the problem. If they instituted a Frappe Tax all hell would break loose. Hipsters would lose their heads. The average millenial sucks down a dozen Frappuccinos a week. 

VZ58 adr Wed, 06/07/2017 - 01:57 Permalink

This! Complete hypocrisy. Starbucks is one of the biggest contributors to Type II diabetes in the world with all their high glucose/fructose laden syrups. But Schultzie is one of them, so no tax on his crap. \this will change nothing. 

In reply to by adr

gregga777 Wed, 06/07/2017 - 00:32 Permalink

More socialist/Liberal lunacy.  It will probably provide a huge boost to Costco sales because their stores are located in places outside Seattle like Kirkland, Tukwila, Redmond, etc.  People will be incentivized to drive outside Seattle to stockup on soft drinks.  It might even encourage an illegal black market by small entrepreneurs dealing in sugary drinks like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, etc.    

Tall Tom Crusader75 Wed, 06/07/2017 - 02:10 Permalink

   i don't know why you are being junked as you are correct in revealing your socialist plans. I do not think that Governments need to do this. The BMI would be more accurate. the tax will be assessed to cover future extra health care expense as insurance companies will not have the ability to assess greater risk premiums due to pre existing conditions. That is due to the consequences of Obamacare...still in force. Government needs to not be providing Health Care. 

In reply to by Crusader75

Crusader75 Wed, 06/07/2017 - 00:34 Permalink

Sugar is an addictive poison, like nicotine and tobacco, and kills far more Americans: why shouldn't we tax it to reduce its consumption, the obese are costing taxpayers hundreds of billions if not trillions. Wake up, fatsos.