Grassroots Change
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Don’t drink Kool-Aid on Initiative 1634; Washington should say ‘no’ to Big Soda’s $13 million con job

October 10, 2018

The News Tribune,

Editorial Board,

October 8, 2018-

Local control is a cherished principle of Washington governance. In recent years, cities, towns and counties have blazed their own trails on everything from marijuana legalization to minimum wages, from filling potholes to reducing the stream of throwaway plastics. People will always disagree on the policies, but we embrace our right to shape them through the grassroots tools of initiative and referendum and through elected community policy makers.

Initiative 1634 aims a dagger at the heart of local control, and that’s reason enough to reject it. There are other reasons not to like this deceptive measure, which would prohibit local taxes on retail food and beverage sales. The yes campaign uses scare tactics about stopping cities from “reaching into your grocery cart.” But it’s really a thinly disguised attempt to thwart one very specific tax: an extra charge on sugary drinks, which contribute heavily to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and other medical problems. Call it regressive, or call it a “sin tax,” but it’s a proven way to curtail unhealthy habits that burden Washington’s public health system.

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