Washington considering statewide soda tax

A new bill in the state Senate would institute a statewide tax on sweetened beverages.

If SB 5371 is passed, a tax of 1.75 cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would be imposed beginning Oct. 1.

Seattle’s own sugary beverages tax went into effect in 2018, and generated over $18 million in 2018.

The goal of the legislation is to reduce health risks like obesity and diabetes, while simultaneously funding social programs with 60% of the generated revenue.

Proponents of the bill say it would help communities of color disproportionately affected.

“It’s really clear that sugary drinks are the leading source of sugars in the American diet,” bill co-sponsor Sen. Robinson said.

Among the bill’s critics is the Washington Hospitality Association. Some businesses say in a single month the tax could cost them an additional $20,000.

If passed, Washington would become the first in the nation to impose a statewide tax.