Seattle’s overburdensome soda tax has failed to create the outcomes City leaders expected

Washington Policy Center

Mark Harmsworth

March 3, 2022

A recent, peer-reviewed report has demonstrated soda taxes don’t create the outcomes the government that imposes them, might want to see. Predictably, the Seattle soda tax did not improve ‘health outcomes’ as city leaders expected from the punitive tax. Instead, consumers just switched to a different beverage, beer.

As the Washington Policy Center has previously highlighted, soda taxes don’t have the outcomes the proponents expect.

In 2018 the city council and mayor of Seattle imposed a special tax on “sweetened beverages,” sharply increasing the consumer cost of all soda drinks sold in the city. The tax is imposed on the distributor, but it is paid by consumers in the form of higher retail prices. The tax falls hardest on convenience stores and other small retailers, especially those located in low-income neighborhoods.

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