July 9, 2018-
Soda companies have poured $4.7 million into an anti-tax measure in Washington state, enough for the initiative to pop up on the November ballot. The campaign, which calls itself YES! TO AFFORDABLE GROCERIES, reported turning in more than 360,000 signatures by the July 6 deadline, a big gulp more than the 259,622 needed to qualify for a statewide initiative. Almost all the campaign’s funding has come from four out-of-state beverage companies: the Coca-Cola Company, Pepsico, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Red Bull North America.
Anti-tax Initiative 1634 would prevent local governments in Washington from following Seattle’s lead and taxing sodas or other sweetened beverages. It would also stop cities from taxing food—a hypothetical threat that the I-1634 campaign admits no one has proposed in Washington state. Even so, the campaign’s name and its advertising emphasize the supposed threat of a government deciding to tax food. One ad shows a mom and her kids loading cereal, bananas, eggs and tomatoes into their grocery cart. No soda bottles in sight.