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The ‘grocery tax initiative’ is not what you think. I-1634 is a misleading measure

October 15, 2018

Tri-City Hearald,

Editorial Board,

October 12, 2018-

The ads pushing Initiative 1634 suggest a grocery tax is imminent. Don’t be fooled. There is no immediate threat that your food bill will go up if I-1634 fails. This ballot measure is deceptive, and aims to protect soda industry profits by frightening people into giving up local government control. We recommend a “no” vote on the initiative. State law already exempts most groceries from the sales tax, including meat, produce, bread and dairy products.

Proponents of I-1634, however, say the measure is necessary to close a “loophole” that allows city and county governments to impose taxes on specific food items – such as sugar-laden beverages. At the beginning of the year, Seattle officials launched a tax on soda and other sugary drinks in an attempt to bring in new revenue and then direct money toward early childhood education and healthy food programs. Now the American Beverage Association is on the defensive, and its preemptive strike is I-1634 in Washington and Measure 103 in Oregon.

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