Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is considering a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks to help raise money for city parks.
“That tax could potentially generate up to $20 million a year if you went up one cent per ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages, like sodas,” said McGinn.
In 2011, sources told KIRO Radio that the idea of taxing soda and other sugary drinks was being floated around at city hall. At the time, the mayor’s spokesperson refused to comment “on a rumor from an unnamed source.”
When asked about the possibility of a soda tax in July 2011, Mayor McGinn said, “everything’s on the table when we look at how we’re going to deal with our budget.”
“I can’t give you any definitive answer because I’ve got to tell you, we have pretty serious budget issues,” he told KIRO Radio.
In 2010, state lawmakers in Olympia passed a budget package that enacted nearly $800 million in new taxes, including taxes on cigarettes, bottled water, beer, candy and soda. The taxes were repealed less than a year later after a multi-million dollar, American Beverage Association-backed initiative.
More than 60 percent of state voters approved Initiative 1107 in the November 2010 general election, which repealed the new taxes. Although the initiative passed statewide, voters in King County upheld the new state taxes with a vote of 53 percent to 46 percent.
McGinn acknowledged in 2011 that a tax on sugary drinks may be well received in Seattle.
“I do know that King County did support that type of tax,” he said.