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I-1634 backers warn soda tax could spread to food

July 10, 2018

The Spokesman-Review,

Jim Camden,

July 10, 2018-

Supporters of an anti-tax initiative say they fear a local tax on food would hurt working families, even though they concede that no city or county in Washington has such a tax. Seattle has a tax on soda and other sugary beverages that wouldn’t be affected by Initiative 1634, but any similar proposal a Washington city or county might like to enact would be barred if the initiative makes the November ballot and passes.

After turning in about 360,000 signatures on initiative petitions last week, the Yes on Affordable Groceries campaign held its official kickoff Monday, featuring representatives of labor and agricultural groups that back the measure. “Food is a basic necessity,” said Kevin Roark, owner of the Bargain Giant Foods store in northeast Spokane. The initiative would keep local governments from taxing that necessity, he said. Keilynn Manley, of Spokane, said the cost of living is already high enough, and taxes would just add to that. “We can’t afford new taxes on groceries,” said Manley, a sales representative for an information technology training company.”

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