The Seattle Times,
July 24, 2019-
Something sure seems off with Seattle’s experiment with the soda tax. A telltale sign is that they’re in a “nasty spat” down at City Hall about all the extra money it’s spinning off. What the mayor and City Council suddenly are warring over is what to do with the windfall created by the 18-month-old soda tax’s surging revenues.
But the real issue is, or ought to be, the booming soda-tax revenues themselves. The main point of even having a sugary beverages tax is to blunt consumption of sugary beverages. Seattle’s tax, imposed in 2018, roughly doubles the price for a 12-pack of soda, so the city estimated consumption could logically plunge up to 40 percent. That doesn’t appear to be happening, to put it mildly. In its defense, the city didn’t really know how much soda was drunk in Seattle, and so its initial estimates for how much money the new tax would raise were more of a guess.