September 21, 2018-
The nation’s soda industry wants Washington state voters to send their local governments a message this November: When looking to boost your budgets with new taxes, stay away from soda. Initiative 1634 would ban any new local taxes on soda and all groceries, and the “vote yes” campaign emphasizes keeping government’s mitts off everything in the grocery cart. But the soda companies are the prime backers of the campaign, and sugary drinks are the only items that have caught the eyes of local governments.
Seattle instituted a tax on soda that began this year, and New York, Philadelphia and several California cities also have a soda tax. The Spokane City Council briefly – and not very seriously, according to council members – looked at a soda tax last year as a way to hire more police officers, but dropped the idea in the face of vocal opposition. The $13 million vote yes campaign has raised its money chiefly from the soda industry. Prime combatants in the cola wars, Coke and Pepsi, were willing to call a truce for the campaign and so far contributed a total of nearly $11 million.