Seattle’s new sugar tax will take effect on January 1 and will cause the price of most sugary drinks to rise.
In June the Seattle City Council passed a 1.75 cents per ounce tax on a wide variety of popular beverages including sports drinks, energy drinks, soda, and juice boxes.
Non-milk based drinks, which are common in Starbucks and other coffee vendors, will also be taxed. This includes Starbuck’s Iced Teas and other non-milk based products.
Meanwhile, Costco letting its customers know that if they don’t like Seattle’s new sugary drink tax, they are more than welcome to shop at its warehouse stores outside the city.
Jason Mercier from Washington Policy Center, which opposed the tax, shot a photo from inside a Seattle Costco that showed the price for a Gatorade 35-bottle variety pack was $15.99. That is until you add the new tax, which bumps it up by $10.34 for a total of $26.33, reports 12NEWS.
Costco also posted an explainer of the new tax, saying it adds 1.75-cents per ounce on “sugar sweetened beverages with added ‘caloric sweeteners’ or syrups. Then the store posted a reminder that shoppers can go to their Tukwila and Shoreline Costcos to avoid the tax.
The city says the tax is expected to raise $15 million in its first year, and at least as many complaints.
As with all excise taxes, this one is easily avoided: customers can visit Costco stores in nearby Tukwila or Shoreline and skip paying the City of Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax. Customers are less likely to make extra inconvenient trips if the price changes are barely noticeable–but with such a steep price change, many residents will likely take the extra trip.
Some are saying they will switch to diet soda instead, which city officials say is “the point,” according to KIRO7. “Not necessarily to switch to diet soda, but getting consumers to go for healthier options.”
The position the tax advocates take is oddly contradictory, as Scott Drenkard of the Tax Foundation summarized on Twitter:
4/ Then they talk to the consumer, "think you'll change your behavior, maybe even shop somewhere else?" And she's like, "ya the Tukwila store is close enough." Then they ask a city council member if this will hurt local biz, who says "there is no data" suggesting that. pic.twitter.com/LkK2B2FWtN
— Scott Drenkard (@ScottDrenkard) January 7, 2018
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
January 10th, 2017
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