Report: Seattle council pulls diet drinks out of soda tax
The Seattle City Council removed diet drinks from a proposed soda tax Wednesday, nearly one month after Mayor Ed Murray added the beverages to the bill.
Mayor Murray proposed a soda tax to raise money to fund more equitable education in the city. At first, the tax only included sugary drinks. In late April, he added the diet drinks to the proposal to make the tax more fair. Data showed that wealthy white people were more likely to drink the diet variety, and poorer minorities more often consume the sugary option.
But at a council finance committee meeting, members nixed the diet drinks before voting 6-2 to move the matter on to an official vote during a future council meeting, The Seattle Times reports.
Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant were the only council members to vote against the proposal on the grounds that without the diet drinks, the tax will essentially affect lower-income minorities more than any other customers.
The council’s latest version of the soda tax places a 1.75 cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks. It provides a discount for medium-sized distributors and an exception for small distributors.