Oregon Public Broadcasting,
March 1, 2018-
Three national food retailers are putting big money into an initiative that would bar new taxes on the sales of groceries. “The idea of keeping your groceries tax-free is pretty universal,” said Joe Gilliam, president of the Northwest Grocery Association. “That’s why we’re going ahead with this.” Gilliam said his group on Thursday cleared the last barrier to launching their effort to collect the 117,578 signatures it needs to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for the November ballot. He said the Oregon Supreme Court upheld a ballot title written by the state attorney general’s office.
Three retailers — Albertsons, Costco and Kroger — put a total of $1.2 million into the initiative this month, disclosure reports show. The grocery association also lent the campaign $97,000. Kroger is the parent company of Fred Meyer. Albertsons merged with Safeway in 2015. If successful, the initiative could have several political impacts. For starters, it would halt any effort to impose taxes on sugary sodas, as public health groups have been trying to do around the country.