Grocery tax measure passed by voters

(COLIN HAFFNER/Chewelah Independent)

Initiative bans any new taxes on grocery items from local governments…

Results from the Nov. 6 election showed initiative I-1634 passing by just over ten points at 55.09% to 49.91% with more than 2.5 million ballots counted.

The measure, backed by the soda industry, including major soda companies The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, was billed as a ban on adding taxes to certain consumable goods typically found at the grocery store.

Approval of the initiative effectively bans any new taxes being levied on beverage, food, and some ingredient items at the local city level. These restrictions were already in effect at the state level.

However, to this point local governments could still impose their own taxes on certain items, such as the excise tax enacted in Seattle that adds an additional 1.75 cents per ounce onto sweetened beverages.

I-1634 received the strong backing from major soda companies as a way to combat against future taxes such as Seattle’s, which have also been enacted in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boulder, Co., and Portland, Or. as a way to combat against overconsumption of beverages believed to contribute to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

Nearly all counties in Washington voted to approve the measure, with just King, San Juan and Jefferson Counties voting against it.

When enacted, the measure will not repeal any tax increases such as Seattle’s that were put in place prior to Jan. 15, 2018, the date when I-1634 retroactively prohibits any increased.

Goods and consumables covered by the initiative include meat, grains, dairy, produce, and seasonings. Other goods such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana products are not considered consumable goods and are not protected from future taxes under the initiative.