Beverage association says Seattle soda tax would hurt businesses

Feb 24, 2017, 10:25 PM | Updated: Feb 25, 2017, 11:40 pm

A spokesperson for the Washington Beverage Association says a Seattle soda tax could be detrimental to small businesses.

Report: 5 big Seattle ideas voters rejected because of tax increases

Jim Cullinan with the Beverage Association says the proposed 2-cents-per-ounce tax on surgery drinks is too expensive for small businesses that are already struggling to survive in the city.

“A 2-liter bottle that could be on sale for 99 cents would be hit with a tax of $1.36,” he said. “That is more tax than the cost of the product itself. What is the impact on the businesses trying to survive in Seattle?”

The group is trying to meet with the Seattle City Council and Mayor Ed Murray to discuss alternatives to a Seattle soda tax to raise money for education.

In his State of the City address, Murray said he wants a Seattle soda tax of 2 cents per ounce on sugary drinks. That includes items such as soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks, and bottled Starbucks drinks and iced teas.

The tax would be about $1.44 per six-pack of soda, according to KIRO 7.

The tax would be placed on distributors and the money generated from it would fund education programs and “eliminate the opportunity gap between white students and African American/black students and other historically under-represented students of color,” Murray said.

That tax could be passed onto the consumer via higher prices, as it has in other cities with similar taxes.

The tax could be repealed by voters with a referendum if enacted by the city council.

Some have praised the idea. A doctor in Philadelphia — Philadelphia implemented a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax in January — told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross it benefits people and programs. The city has reportedly received $5.7 million thanks to the tax.

But Cullinan and the Beverage Association argue a soda tax would be a burden on people and businesses.

“We certainly understand Mayor Murray’s desire to fund early education,” he said. “We don’t believe this is the right approach…”

There’s a similar sentiment from business owners and the American Beverage Association over in Philly. The Ax the Bev Tax Coalition released a statement opposing the tax, despite the revenue it’s brought in, The Philadelphia Tribune reports.

“Regardless of how much money the administration says it collected in the first months of this tax, the pain Philadelphia families and businesses are feeling is very real,” the statement says.

The president of Canada Dry Delaware Valley Corp. told The Tribune that the tax is having a “devastating impact” on its business and customers.

But, like Dr. Kenneth Margulies argues, “An individual person will either choose to pay the added cost and support the revenue goals of the policy or reduce their consumption and support the health goals of the policy,” Margulies said. “As a community, I suspect there will be a balancing of the two.”

Cullinan says the Beverage Association doesn’t have any specific alternatives to a soda tax but is looking forward to a “constructive dialog” with the city to make sure everyone has a sense of the implications.

Local News

Climate Pledge Arena...
Associated Press

Climate Pledge Arena ready to get Kraken for hockey debut

The first event ever inside Climate Pledge Arena — whether it will be considered the official first event or not — was far from a soft opening.
21 hours ago
shipping containers...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Approximately 40 shipping containers adrift off Washington coast

Approximately 40 shipping containers were lost off a ship 43 miles west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, according to the United States Coast Guard.
21 hours ago
Kathryn Altena

Gov. Inslee, Washington groups prepare to welcome Afghan refugees

In the coming months, 1,400 Afghan refugees are expected to pass through the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport upon their arrival in Washington.
21 hours ago
King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski...
Nick Bowman

King County Councilmember accused of history of ‘verbally abusive’ behavior toward female staff

King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski is facing accusations detailing a history of verbally abusive behavior toward female staff members.
21 hours ago
Microsoft campus, vaccine...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Racial harassment allegations at Microsoft campus construction site in Redmond

Racial harassment on the job — that’s what a Black construction employee says he was dealing with for months at the build site on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond.
21 hours ago
Jaime Herrera Beutler...
Nick Bowman

Washington Rep. Herrera Beutler breaks from GOP party line again over Bannon contempt vote

Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was among nine Republicans who voted in favor of holding Steve Bannon in contempt on Thursday.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Beverage association says Seattle soda tax would hurt businesses