LOCAL NEWS

Seattle council approves controversial soda tax

Jun 5, 2017, 5:53 AM | Updated: 4:24 pm
soda tax, I-1634...
(AP file photo)
(AP file photo)

The Seattle City Council passed a soda tax Monday that will place a new fee on sugary beverages sold within the city.

“The scientific evidence is incontrovertible … sugar-sweetened beverage consumption leads to negative health outcomes,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess shortly before voting to pass the soda tax. “Communities of color and young people are disproportionately targeted by the beverage industry’s advertising and marketing campaigns. Black children and teens see twice as many ads for soda and other sweetened beverages compared to white children and other teens.”

RELATED: Seattle council removes diet drinks from soda tax

Burgess argued the sugary drinks are the leading source of excess calories and are linked to heart disease, dental disease and other chronic illnesses, disproportionately affecting minorities.

“Daily consumption of just one sugary drink increases a child’s chance of obesity by 55 percent and diabetes by 26 percent,” he said.

The new soda tax places a .0175 per ounce fee on sweetened beverages. The tax is initially paid for by distributors, but the cost will likely be passed along to the customer. The city estimates it will raise more than $23 million from the tax in 2018, which it intends to put toward reducing the academic achievement gap between white and minority students, as well as expand access to healthy food.

The council voted 7-1 in favor of the tax. Councilmember Lisa Herbold was the only member to vote against it. She said that she supports the effort, but did not like how the legislation was drafted, and disagreed with the drinks it targeted and excluded. Councilmember Sawant was absent.

Soda tax and Seattle

The council heard a range of public perspectives prior to passing the soda tax. Business owners objected to the proposal, arguing that the tax would negatively impact their stores.

“From the last four to five years, something new is coming every single time and it’s cutting our bottom line,” said a representative from the Greater Seattle Franchise Owner Association. “Not only is it cutting our bottom line, we are decreasing our payroll, letting people go. We are giving part-time jobs right now, not full time. Sooner or later, we will have to stay in our stores 24 hours.”

“Think before you do anymore taxes on us or our customers,” he said.

Others criticized the city for only targeting sugary drinks that are more often purchased by lower-income and minority residents. Yet products more often purchased by wealthier residents were excluded from the tax.

“It is regressive and it hurts working people and the poor the most and it will result in the loss of jobs,” said Pete Lamb with Teamsters Local 174.

“We absolutely oppose the exception on hand-crafted beverages. It is elitist and it absolutely undermines the credibility of this proposal in the first place,” he added.

The amendment aimed at exempting hand crafted beverages did not gain approval from the council before the tax passed.

Local News

COVID, hospitals...
Nick Bowman

‘Tough few weeks ahead’ as state’s hospitals continue to struggle with flood of COVID patients

While Washington's COVID crisis has begun to stabilize in recent weeks, health officials warn that the state's hospitals are not quite out of the woods yet. 
1 day ago
Eatonville COVID outbreak...
MyNorthwest Staff

Eatonville school goes back to virtual learning over COVID outbreak

Eatonville Middle School sent students home on Friday, and will be temporarily moving back to virtual learning until at least mid-October. 
1 day ago
Amazon Bothell...
Dalton Day

Permits indicate Amazon is behind planned new warehouse in Bothell, despite denial from county

Plans for a 105,000-square-foot warehouse in Bothell named as a “fulfillment center" suggest Amazon is behind the project.
1 day ago
Employment Security, audit reports, unemployment tax, unemployment suspect...
Nick Bowman

Former state unemployment worker arrested, charged for alleged role in payment scheme

A former ESD employee was arrested and charged on Friday, for allegedly defrauding the state out of thousands in unemployment payments.
1 day ago
monoclonal antibody treatment...
Nicole Jennings

Washington hospitals lacking in monoclonal antibody treatment

Hospitals throughout Washington are desperately in need of more monoclonal antibody treatment — but at the moment, it’s in short supply. Monoclonal antibody treatment is given to certain high-risk COVID patients through IV or injection as soon as possible after a diagnosis to prevent severe COVID symptoms. According to the Food and Drug Administration, “monoclonal […]
1 day ago
Vaccine mandate, Durkan...
Nick Bowman

Seattle reaches agreement with labor groups on vaccine mandate, still no deal with police union

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Friday that the city has reached a tentative agreement with several unions on an employee vaccine mandate.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
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.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
...
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Seattle council approves controversial soda tax