Seattle City Council passes soda tax

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Seattle joins other cities such as San Francisco and Berkeley in voting to impose a soda tax. Pic:iStock
Seattle joins other cities such as San Francisco and Berkeley in voting to impose a soda tax. Pic:iStock

Related tags: United states

Seattle City Council has voted to levy a tax on soda and sugar sweetened beverages, joining other US cities such as Philadelphia and Berkeley.

The measure in Seattle, Washington, is due to be signed by Mayor Ed Murray today after being approved on a 7-1 vote by the council yesterday. It is due to come into effect in January.

The tax, at 1.75 cents per ounce, was proposed earlier this year. Last week an amended version of the tax dropped diet drinks​ and introduced an exemption for small manufacturers (less than $2m in gross annual income), as well as giving medium-sized manufacturers (more than $2m, but less than $5m in gross income) a reduced rate of a 1 cent tax per fluid ounce.

Seattle estimates the tax will generate $28,378,000 by 2018. The city says it will use the tax revenue for services that will promote school readiness and learning, reduce the academic achievement gap, improve access to healthy food, and expand services for the birth-to-five population.

The American Beverage Association was among those campaigning against the tax, saying in a statement before the vote yesterday that it would target small business owners and low-income working families with a ‘job-killing tax that will only worsen Seattle’s income inequality, and, despite what council members are promising, won’t improve public health’.​   

Elsewhere in the US, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boulder and Cook County are among the jurisdictions that have passed similar soda taxes, while taxes are also under discussion in other areas. However, last month voters in Santa Fe rejected a tax​ on sugar-sweetened beverages in the city.

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