You may have heard of initiative 1634: “This measure would prohibit new or increased local taxes, fees, or assessments on raw or processed foods or beverages (with exceptions), or ingredients thereof, unless effective by January 15, 2018, or generally applicable.”
But did you know it is a response to a proposed law to tax sodas and other unhealthy, sugary beverages? The proposed law that the initiative is opposing has, in fact, nothing to do with other groceries or essential foods that people need. It is entirely to discourage the frequent drinking of soda and other processed drinks.
At the end of the initiative’s advertisements, they mention their top five contributors. Did you ever notice that 4 of those 5 top contributors are beverage companies? The Coca-Cola Company, Pepsi Co,. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, and Red Bull are all supporters of initiative 1634. A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, adult males should only have 37.5 grams of sugar a day. Adult women? Only 25. That means in a single can of Coke you could be having anything between 104 percent to 156 percent of your daily sugar value.
There is nothing wrong with wanting affordable groceries for Washingtonians. But attempting to prevent grocery taxes just for a soda tax beneficial to the health of people in Washington state in an initiative run by soda companies? Well, maybe initiative 1634 isn’t as much for the interest of the people as we thought.