Grassroots Change
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Where ‘Yes! To Affordable Groceries’ Really Means No to a Soda Tax

November 5, 2018

The New York Times,

Andrew Jacobs,

November 2, 2018-

Standing in a supermarket produce aisle, her face shadowed with dread, the middle-aged woman speaks directly to the camera and makes a plea for common decency. “We should not be taxed on what we eat,” she says in a commercial that is being broadcast across Washington State. “We need to eat to survive, and if we have to cut back on what we eat, that’s not going to be good — especially for the elderly.” In the run-up to Election Day, residents of Washington and Oregon have been bombarded with similar messages from groups with names like Yes! To Affordable Groceries.

The organizations have spent more than $25 million on commercials that feature plain-spoken farmers and penny-pinching moms urging support of ballot measures that would prohibit municipalities from taxing food sales. But what most voters don’t know is that Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and other American beverage companies are largely financing the initiatives — not to block taxes on staples like milk and vegetables but to choke off a growing movement to tax sugary drinks.

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