October 24, 2018-
Soda industry giants including the Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, Inc. are spending more than $20 million to convince voters in Washington state to pass an initiative that would block local governments from imposing taxes on soda, sugary beverages and some food items. The effort follows a tax on sugary beverages that went into effect in Seattle earlier this year. “When you tax any grocery items, when you raise prices, it’s not a good thing for the businesses,” said Prem Singh, who owns convenience stores in the state and is part of a coalition of small businesses, chambers of commerce and restaurants supporting the initiative.
The American Beverage Association is pushing the ballot initiative in what’s become a nationwide campaign to slow the expansion of soda taxes. The industry has prevailed with bans on new, local soda taxes in California, Arizona and Michigan. Other supporters include the union representing beverage industry workers and the Washington Food Industry Association, which is the only in-state organization that has donated cash, $20,000, to the campaign.