Seattle Joins The Sugar Tax List

The Lempert Report
July 12, 2017

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the Seattle City Council approved a controversial tax on sugary drinks after adding exemptions for small businesses.

The law takes effect in January 2018 - distributors will pay 1.75 cents per ounce of sugary drinks, which comes out to 21 cents for a 12-ounce can of cola. Diet drinks are exempt from the tax. 

Manufacturers with less than $2 million in worldwide gross income are exempt from the tax, while businesses with $2 million to $5 million in gross income will pay a reduced tax rate of 1 cent per ounce. 

The tax will fund scholarships, classroom investments, job training, healthy and affordable food access and children's health programs. 

Proponents said the tax would discourage consumption of unhealthy drinks and support initiatives to improve public health. Opponents said the tax places an unnecessary burden on businesses and lower-income consumers, who are more likely to consume sugary drinks. 

Sugar taxes have mixed success and have very vocal opponents arguing for both sides. But one thing is clear – Americans obesity and diabetes levels continue to escalate and the science is clear – improving our diets by eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains, lowering sugars, sodium and fats have a huge impact on disease and health related issues. While you might differ with the approach, the results cannot be argued.