City-commissioned UW research report finds that the soda tax isn’t working

When the City Council passed its sweetened-beverage tax in 2017, it commissioned an ongoing study on the impact of that tax in reducing consumption of sugared beverages. Two months ago I reported that the UW team that landed the contract to do the study had yet to deliver a report on 2018 data. But today, the City auditor finally released that report. Its main finding: the soda tax had no effect on the amount of sweetened beverages consumed by low-income children and their parents.

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There’s plenty of bad faith actors in City Hall when it comes to the sweetened beverage tax

In June of 2017 the City Council passed a sales tax on sweetened beverages, to take effect on January 1, 2018. Now, with some initial data in hand, the Mayor and City Council are deciding how to spend the tax revenues over the next two years. But things haven’t turned out the way the experts predicted, raising questions about whether the “soda tax” was such a good idea in the first place. It equally raises questions about the motives of the city officials charting the tax’s future.

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Burgess explains why the soda tax is being rushed through

This afternoon, Council member Tim Burgess finally responded to my week’s worth of inquiries and explained why the proposed legislation creating a tax on distribution of sweetened beverages is being rushed through the legislative process despite obvious differences of opinion among Council members, the Mayor, community members, and business and labor leaders on major aspects of the legislation and indeed whether the tax should even be levied. It turns out Burgess’s explanation makes some sense, even if it may not fully justify the final sprint to the finish line.

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After divisive meeting, soda tax legislation headed for final vote Monday

The soda tax legislation made it out of committee yesterday and is headed for a final approval vote on Monday. But in the absence of a clear consensus on the goals of the bill, it took a loose federation of Council members with overlapping interests, some earmarked spending, and a fair amount of holding their noses to get it passed through today. And Council member Tim Burgess is still rushing it through without a clear explanation of why that is necessary.

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