October 29, 2018-
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has again waded into Oregon politics with a record-breaking, $1.5 million contribution to fight Measure 103, an initiative that would prohibit taxes on grocery revenue and most items sold in the supermarkets. Bloomberg did not explain the reason for the mammoth contribution, disclosed Friday. As New York City mayor, though, Bloomberg unsuccessfully sought to ban super-sized sodas. And in 2017 he spent $5 million in support of a proposed soda tax in Chicago.
While Measure 103 is nominally about a ban on taxing groceries and grocers, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported earlier this month that it’s focused in large part on establishing a constitutional prohibition on soda taxes statewide. Even before Bloomberg’s money arrived, leading contributors for and against Measure 103 were partisans in the national fight over soda taxes. Willamette Week, which first noted Bloomberg’s contribution, said it’s the largest individual political donation in Oregon history. Oregon has no general food tax and — Measure 103 notwithstanding — no one is seriously contemplating establishing such a thing.