Publisher’s note: My Edmonds News sent requests to both proponents and opponents of the most visible citizen initiative campaigns, asking them to supply a written statement, if possible authored by someone from Edmonds. This piece, written by Edmonds business owner and City Councilmember Strom Peterson, is in opposition to Initiative 1107, which would remove a recently imposed sales tax on candy and bottled water and a temporary excise tax on soda pop
By Strom Peterson
This election year, the American Beverage Association, the national lobbying arm of the Big Soda industry, is asking you to give them a tax break. In fact, they’re willing to spend over $14 million (that’s about $5 for every Washingtonian) to run a deceptive campaign to make sure you give them that tax break by passing I-1107. That’s a new record for spending on an initiative in our state.
Initiative 1107 would repeal a small – and mostly temporary – tax on non-essential items like soda pop, bottled water, candy and gum. The tax amounts to 2-cents per can of soda, but the money raised – over $100 million each year – funds early childhood education, K-12, health care and protections for seniors and kids. If voters let Big Soda have this tax giveaway, you can expect further, more severe cuts to programs for children, seniors and other vulnerable populations.
The American Beverage Association claims that I-1107 is about food and groceries. It is not. The truth is that there is no food or grocery tax in Washington. Soda pop and candy are not food. Instead, they are major contributors to the epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes.
I-1107 is really about letting soda companies keep their soaring profits at the expense of Washingtonians. If I-1107 passes, it will only mean further cuts to essential services like education and health care; cuts that will do serious harm to our kids and our seniors.
The nonpartisan Office of Financial Management also found that I-1107 will cut city and county funds by an additional $83 million. The last thing we need in Edmonds is another cut in revenue.
A growing coalition of advocates for children, the elderly and education — including the Children’s Alliance, the AARP, Community Health Network of Washington, Elder Health Northwest, Washington Association of Churches, Citizens to Protect Our Economic Future, the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Washington State Public Health Association and many more — have joined together to oppose I-1107.
In these tough times, we can’t afford to give big, out-of-state special interests tax breaks at the expense of Washington families.
Don’t let the Big Soda Lobby get away with hurting our education, our health care and our families. Vote NO on 1107.