Customers are feeling the pinch of Seattle’s new Sweetened Beverage Tax. At Costco, a $15.99 case of Gatorade now costs an additional $10.34 due to the tax.
A sign alerts Costco customers to the price change and also lets them know that they can go to the company’s Tukwila or Shoreline stores to buy the product without the added charge.
The new tax went into affect on January 1, 2018 and tacks on 1.75 cents per ounce. It affects soda, sports drinks, kombucha, and other sugary beverages that don’t list milk as their first ingredient.
“If you buy in bulk, you’re going to notice it. If you’re just buying an individual can, you probably won’t blink,” KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney said on Monday’s edition of Tom and Curley.
Because so many of Costco’s products are sold in large quantities, customers are seeing more drastic price increases.
“I gotta say, I like Costco’s approach to this,” KIRO Radio’s Mike Lewis said. “People should know. And they should know and they should be able to make an educated decision.”
Many Seattle residents are upset about the tax. Some don’t want to pay more for soda and other drinks. Others think the tax is regressive, meaning it disproportionately affects low-income families. And still others question why the tax leaves out sugar-heavy beverages like many of those sold at Starbucks.
“Make it consistent. Apply it to every sugary drink. Apply it to fast food,” Lewis said. “If you want to actually start talking about health effects, let’s actually have a conversation about that. Let’s not go to what’s the most convenient thing and attack that.”