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Seattle residents weigh in on proposed soda tax

The owner of Burger Boss Drive-In in White Center says soda drinks amount to almost a quarter of his sales. (KIRO 7)

The City of Seattle took another step toward imposing a soda tax on Wednesday as it heard what the public thinks about the idea.

RELATED: Proposed Seattle soda tax adds diet drinks to the list

“I support education and after school programs and stuff, but I just feel there is a better source than a sugar tax and cutting jobs to fund those needs,” said Anthony Brown, a teamster who works at Pepsi in Rainier Valley.

Pro-soda tax testimony

Brown’s statement echoes that of the Seattle business community which has come out in opposition to the soda tax. But his concern that the soda tax would harm Seattle jobs was only one sentiment delivered to a Seattle council committee. On the other side of the argument was Victor Coleman with Seattle Healthy Kids Coalition.

“A sugary drink tax provides multiple benefits both in health and developing new resources for those communities hardest hit by conditions related to sugary drink consumption,” Coleman said. “Successfully tackling our obesity epidemic means we have to make healthy choices easier, and we know raising the price is really the best strategy we have in our tool box.”

Coleman wasn’t alone. At 10 years old, Sophia Harrison has a few opinions on the soda tax as well, and she wasn’t shy about sharing them.

“Sometimes, kids can be tricked into thinking that sports drinks and artificial fruit juices are good for you,” Harrison said. “I know this is true because a couple months back I did an experiment in my lunch room and learned that more than 75 percent of the kids had unhealthy drinks in their lunches.”

“I may only be a kid, but I have learned that I can make a difference,” she said. “With everything going wrong in the world, this is a chance to make something right.”

The soda tax is part of a plan put forth by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who wants to place a 1.75 cent tax on sodas sold in Seattle. The money raised by the tax is aimed at closing an educational gap between white and black students in Seattle. The proposal is currently working its way through the council committee system. The next step will be for the full council to consider, and possibly pass the soda tax.

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