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Seattle's Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Leaving Shoppers Salty

January 17, 2018

Jason Mercier with the Washington Policy Center joins the show to explain how Seattle's sugar-sweetened beverage tax is leaving a bad taste in people's mouths.

Jason Mercier, director of the Center for Government Reform at Washington Policy Center, joins the show to talk about how Seattle's sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax is leaving a bad taste in shoppers' mouths. Mercier argues lawmakers could have completely avoided the problems people are now facing.

Local Costco stores are detailing the tax's effects up front with a placard explaining the new "City of Seattle Sweetened Beverage Recovery Fee" is passing along price increases to consumers.

In 2017, the Seattle City Council approved a new tax on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages, Mercier says, despite warnings from labor unions and government researchers. Seattle wasn't warned of the potential economic consequences of pursing this tax policy, he says, and now the regressive taxes are punishing shoppers.

Mercier and Hathaway also discuss how Seattle's economic policies, including the SSB tax and the city's failed attempt at instituting an income tax, are chasing people away and discouraging them from living and working there. Instead of hiking taxes, Mercier says the city should be making Seattle more friendly to business owners and residents alike.

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Jesse Hathaway is a policy advisor for budget and tax issues at The Heartland Institute. @JesseinOH