You’ve heard by now that Seattle’s mayor wants to add a two-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks — soda, energy and sports drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened teas, ready-to-drink coffee drinks like Starbucks bottled Frappuccinos, and many more.
Someone from a massive beverage corporation said in an email to the Northwest Asian Weekly, “This punitive tax will not make people thinner, only poorer.”
Not a surprising comment coming from a massive beverage corporation.
But it’s not about that. Or even the fact that while controlled experiments have shown that too much added sugar leads to obesity, the evidence is not as founded when it comes to sugary drinks causing diabetes or heart disease.
The money is meant for education and to eliminate the opportunity gap between white and Black students, and other historically underrepresented students of color, according to Ed Murray.
But it’s not about that either.
The point of this commentary is — it’s yet another tax. When is it going to stop?
According to the Tax Foundation, Seattle’s sales-tax rate is 9.6 percent, among the highest of any city in the nation.
Additionally, the city has passed seven higher taxes in the mayor’s first three years in office. And during the kickoff for his re-election bid last month, Murray announced the soda tax and a $275 million property tax to help deal with the homeless epidemic.
“I was kind of blown away. It’s his re-election year, and he’s running on ‘I’m going to raise your taxes again. And again,’” said Eugene Wasserman of the North Seattle Industrial Association, a group of old-line maritime businesses that has butted heads with the city on taxes in the past.
According to Murray, Seattle citizens want to be taxed more, not less! His comments came in during an interview in February on The Seattle Times’ politics podcast The Overcast. “What I hear is, ‘Why don’t you do that again?’” Murray said, referring to the city’s special tax for Metro bus service. “On affordable housing, what I hear is, ‘Why didn’t you triple that?’”
If our voting history is any measure, Seattle seems happy to tax itself.
Voters last November turned out in full support of Sound Transit 3, a light rail-heavy plan that will cost taxpayers $54 billion through several tax hikes, including a significant increase in the cost of car tabs. Could it be possible that the ever-increasing taxes are pricing people out? City leaders talk about how much they care about middle-class families and working people — then make it harder on them to stay in Seattle.
When will it stop?