Earlier this month, the Seattle City Council voted to approve a new tax on soda in the city. This plan is a tax of 1.75 cents per ounce on distributors of drinks such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, sports drinks, and other sugary drinks. Seattle officials promoted this tax as a way of making the city healthier. However, this tax is simply an overreach by a city government that already over-taxes its constituents and will likely harm small businesses as well.
Seattle is not the only city in the United States to implement this kind of tax; Philadelphia has also placed a tax on soda earlier this year. According to an article from National Review, Bob Dick from the Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank, claims that Philadelphia’s tax has “depressed sales, increased prices, and destroyed jobs.” The same article reported that in Philadelphia, Coca-Cola has had to fire 40 employees and Pepsi had to lay off around 100 workers in the city since the tax has been implemented. The two large soda companies have “blamed the tax increase for the job losses, which is causing a 30 to 50 percent drop in their sales.” The soda tax in Seattle could have a similar effect.
In addition, small businesses are also rightfully concerned about what the soda tax in Seattle will mean for them. In an article written by Dori Monson for MyNorthwest, Dori explains how Jones Soda moved from Canada to set up shop in Seattle because of the anti-business regulations. Now, the CEO of Jones Soda believes it’d be better if they had stayed in Canada, as Seattle now acts as if “small business is the enemy.”
The newly implemented soda tax is bad for Seattle in a number of ways. First of all, it is an overreach by the local government that places unnecessary regulation on those who call Seattle home. It also has the potential to harm workers from large soda companies, as well as small businesses like Jones Soda. The Seattle City Council has made a mistake by approving this tax as it is too controlling and will have a negative effect on businesses and employees in the city.