Signature gathering has begun for a statewide initiative to bar cities and counties from imposing taxes on sweetened beverages and other food and drinks typically sold in supermarkets. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Signature gathering has begun for a statewide initiative to bar cities and counties from imposing taxes on sweetened beverages and other food and drinks typically sold in supermarkets. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Initiative would bar governments from enacting soda taxes

It would also prohibit local taxes on other food and drinks typically sold in supermarkets.

OLYMPIA — Signature gathering began this week for a proposed statewide initiative to bar cities and counties from imposing their own taxes on sweetened beverages as well as other food and drinks typically sold in supermarkets.

Under Initiative 1634, local governments could not enact a soda tax similar to what exists in Seattle but the state is not prohibited from doing so. And while the proposed measure does not undo Seattle’s regulation, it contains a provision to prevent the city from increasing or expanding the tax.

Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and marijuana products, which are regulated and taxed by the state, are excluded from the measure.

“It’s already hard enough for stores, shops and restaurants to make payroll, but if you add taxes on essentials like food and everyday beverages, sales will suffer and jobs will be lost,” said A.J. Handa, an Everett convenience store owner, in a statement issued by initiative backers.

To qualify for the ballot, supporters need to turn in signatures of at least 259,622 registered voters by July 6. The Secretary of State’s Office recommends submitting at least 325,000 signatures to allow for duplicate and invalid signatures.

The American Beverage Association is pushing the measure. Contributions from the Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc., Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. and Red Bull North America Inc. totalled $25,000 as of Wednesday, according to records posted online by the Public Disclosure Commission.

Much more will be coming in soon. Yes! to Affordable Groceries, the political committee conducting the campaign, has amassed $567,000 in bills for campaign consultants, lawyers, polling and prepping for the signature drive.

Its message will be spread by Handa and others in a coalition that includes the Joint Council of Teamsters No. 28, which represents beverage industry workers, the Washington Food Industry Association and the Korean-American Grocer’s Association of Washington.

As of Wednesday, no formal opposition committee had registered with the state.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A portion of the site of the proposed Lake Stevens Costco at the intersection of Highway 9 (right) and South Lake Stevens Road (below, out of view). (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Shovel alert: Groundbreaking on Lake Stevens Costco is near

A land sale in early June cleared the way. The mayor says dirt could be flying as soon as next week.

Taleah Burr (left right), Laurel Harrison, Caitlin Hitchner and Kelsey Jinneman-Fairbanks are four teachers at Challenger Elementary in Everett got Roman numeral '4' tattoos to represent their "Core 4" solidarity the day after their first year teaching in 2014.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Inked: Third-grade teachers tattoo their solidarity IV-ever

Most of their Challenger Elementary students don’t know about the hidden badge of teacher pride.

In Edmonds, ‘small cell’ deployment permit becomes a big deal

The City Council has allowed new cellular equipment under an ordinance that regulates conditions.

Woman killed in hit-and-run south of Everett is identified

Detectives have been searching for the vehicle that struck Katherine Mueller, 31, of Snohomish.

Highway 99 fatal crash victim from Seattle identified

Sarah Cooper was the passenger in the car that reportedly crossed into oncoming traffic in Lynnwood.

The passenger loading ramp is nearing completion at the new Mukilteo ferry terminal. (Andrea Brown / The Herald) Feb. 4, 2021
State ferry fares set to rise for drivers and walk-ons

A state panel proposed a 2.5% hike in each of the next two years to cover the system’s operating costs.

Officers surrounded a Motel 6 near Everett Tuesday morning after a reported rape. A man tried to flee but was subdued and arrested. (Ellen Dennis / The Herald) 20210615
Man arrested after standoff at motel over reported rape

Surrounded by a SWAT team near Everett, the man tried to flee but was subdued with pepper balls.

Arlington-area man arrested in fatal machete attack on uncle

The nephew, 31, claimed self-defense. It was an argument over a wheelbarrow, a sheriff’s deputy wrote.

Jeff Thoreson does a cheer with his second grade class before the start of their kickball game on his last in-person day of school on Thursday, June 17, 2021 in Snohomish, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish teacher hit the right notes in memorable career

Jeff Thoreson will retire this month after molding minds at Riverview Elementary School for 41 years.

Most Read