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Seattle mayor tweaks soda tax proposal, adds diet drinks

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s announced a few tweaks to his proposed soda tax, including slightly lowering what had originally been a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks.

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“We will raise the ongoing $18 million dollars for our education and health agenda with a 1.75 cents per ounce tax,” Murray said.

But now, Murray’s plan will also tax diet sodas. The mayor says he decided to include diet drinks to make the tax more fair, because numbers show more wealthy white people drink diet soda, while minorities drink regular soda.

“To those who say that we are resorting to a progressive or a regressive tax, I say, you know what is more regressive? You know what is really taking money out of African-American communities? Tolerating an education system that is failing students of color every day and leaving them without a future and giving them food that will only lead to health problems.”

Murray originally proposed the soda tax back in February. The proposed tax would help fund new investments in education, as recommended by the Education Summit Advisory Group. The recommendations are “aimed at reducing disparities between white and African-American/Black students and other historically underrepresented students of color,” he said. Investments would also be made for “Birth-to-Five” programs such as the expansion of the Parent-Child Home Program, as well as expanding access to healthy food.

Since making the proposal, more than 100 businesses have responded, saying it would negatively impact sales.

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