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Council votes to overturn Mayor Durkan’s veto of soda tax restrictions

The Seattle soda tax went into effect Jan. 1, 2018. (Dyer Oxley, MyNorthwest)

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to override Mayor Jenny Durkan’s recent veto of their soda tax legislation.

Seattle council: Durkan veto ‘a complete waste of time’

The city council voted in July to approve restrictions on Sweetened Beverage Tax revenues. The money was initially slated for programs aimed at improving access to healthy foods. But after taking in far more funds than expected — nearly $6 million — some of that excess money has been used for other purposes, such as social services.

The council passed these restrictions with a 7-1 vote.

But Mayor Jenny Durkan vetoed the council’s restrictions. She favors using the excess soda tax money for other city purposes, such as funding food banks and senior meals. Her veto means the bill was sent back to the council.

Council Member Teresa Mosqueda was among the six who voted to require that money be spent on food access programs.

“The soda tax was a public health intervention,” Mosqeda said. “It was always a bill to be a public health harm reduction strategy, not to foot he bill for general government.”

Council president Bruce Harrell echoed Mosqeda’s message.

“This revenue stream was for the long-term health of our community,” Harrell said. “This revenue stream was to make sure that we understand the importance of health and that we had to, from a grass roots standpoint, go against a strong marketing effort that sometimes target poor neighborhoods.”

Why Seattle’s newest council member was a lone vote over sugary drink tax

KIRO 7 TV contributed to this story.

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