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Post-Election, Oregon and Washington’s Proposed Soda Tax Bans Reach Different Results

November 15, 2018

The National Law Review,

November 14, 2018-

As previously reported , Oregon and Washington state residents headed to the polls on November 6, 2018 to vote on initiatives that would preemptively ban new soda and food taxes. Despite similarities in terms of context and likelihood to succeed, the two initiatives came to very different results. Oregon’s Measure 103 was defeated, with 57.7% “No” votes to 42.3% “Yes” votes, whereas Washington’s Initiative 1634 was approved after receiving 54.8% “Yes” votes to 45.2% “No” votes.

As a reminder, Oregon’s Measure 103 would have amended the state constitution to prohibit the state and local governments from passing taxes on groceries, defined as “raw or processed food or beverages intended for human consumption,” excluding alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Thus, Measure 103 would have prevented the taxing of soda or sugary beverages. Prior to the election, Oregon did not have a statewide sales tax—including on groceries—but also had no law preventing local governments from establishing such a sales tax. Washington’s Initiative 1634, also known as the Prohibit Local Taxes on Groceries initiative, prohibits local governments from passing new taxes or fees on groceries, defined as “any raw or processed food or beverage, or any ingredient thereof, intended for human consumption.”

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