October 3, 2018-
In many ways, Initiative 1634 on the November ballot is a solution in search of a problem. The initiative would prohibit local governments from enacting taxes on groceries. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends a “no” vote on the measure, preferring local control over taxes rather than a blanket statewide ban. As always, this is merely a recommendation. The Columbian trusts that voters will examine the issue before making an informed decision, and when it comes to Initiative 1634, such examination might lead to more confusion than it should.
That is because the measure is not really about imposing local taxes on apples or potato chips or milk at the corner store. Instead, it is a reaction to the Seattle City Council’s decision to tax sweetened beverages, a tax that took effect Jan. 1 and raised more than $10 million in its first six months. In 2013, no municipalities in the United States had soda taxes; since then, at least eight sizeable cities have enacted such taxes, arguing that sugary drinks contribute to public health concerns such as obesity and diabetes.