Pizza shop owner says Seattle's soda tax is costing him business

It hasn't been a full month since Seattle implemented its soda and sugary beverages tax, and one Seattle business owner has said that the tax is costing him his business.

Businesses and consumers saw sticker shock immediately when the tax went into effect in early January.

Jagajit Singh, who owns A Pizza Mart in Southwest Seattle, said the soda tax has customers walking out, leaving the soda on the counter and, sometimes, the pizza too.

Singh and a coalition of business owners and the Teamsters Union spoke out against the tax Friday afternoon.

They said the city needs to repeal the tax before it is too late for business owners to recover their losses. Several business owners said their businesses are on the city border and customers are going across the street to get their soda outside city limits.

Many think of the viral photo that showed a more than $10 tax on a $15.99 case of Gatorade at Costco. Signs above each taxed sugary drink remind shoppers you can leave the city and buy the product without paying the tax.

The $15 million Seattle expects to raise from the tax will go toward programs that will help people in need of fresh produce have better access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The money will also fund education programs.

Most of the 2018 tax money has already been allocated to programs and one-time administrative costs. The city said that, for the first year, there are higher administrative costs to implement the tax, as well as to set up and expand programs.

Right now, there’s still about $3 million of the $15 million to be allocated for 2018.

Eleven people have been selected to be part of a special coalition that will make recommendations to the City Council on which organizations will get the money. The coalition is expected to make its recommendations by April, and there will be an opportunity for public input before the City Council votes.

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