I-1634 ban on soda tax holding on to early lead
Soda taxes will likely remain confined to Seattle if initial election counts hold. A total of 54.5 percent of the vote have favored Initiative 1634 Tuesday night, after early counts were reported.
Initiative 1634 promoted itself as an anti-grocery tax. It more accurately is about soda taxes. Seattle passed a soda tax which went into effect at the start of 2018. The initiative aims to prevent other cities from passing their own. The initiative has brought out a range of opposition and support. Opposition only raised $13,384, funded by the Foundation for Healthy Generations, the American Cancer Society, and El Centro De La Raza.
The initiative also spurred state politicians to renew efforts to pass regulations requiring initiatives to feature the logos of corporate sponsors.
The initiative has been largely backed by the soda industry. Proponents went by the name “Yes for Affordable Groceries,” however, it is already illegal to tax most groceries in Washington state. The I-1634 campaign raised more than $20 million from Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Keurig Dr. Pepper, and Red Bull.
But it wasn’t just soda companies funding I-1631. The state’s unions also supported it. Pete Lamb, with Teamsters Local 174, told KTTH’s Jason Rantz that the initiative has also been about protecting jobs.
“The reality of it is that this initiative protects beverages and foods, so from our labor perspective, every time you go to the store, basically every item you put in your grocery cart, is something that is either picked, loaded, or delivered by a Teamster,” Lamb said. “So these are really good jobs and we think that it is lunacy to impact and potentially decrease the number of good paying jobs in the State of Washington. We need more of them, I think we all can agree on that, not less.”