Sweetened Beverage Tax Lacks Clear Direction, Could Harm Small Businesses

By: Kathryn Robertson Posted: 05/11/2017

Proposal from Mayor, City Council fails to provide a straightforward, effective solution for community needs


This week, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees voted to oppose the proposed 1.75-cents per ounce sweetened beverage tax in the City of Seattle.

The vote comes after the Chamber carefully evaluated the measure through its member-led process. Ultimately, members concluded that the City has not demonstrated how the new stream of revenue would be efficiently spent to drive effective outcomes. The tax would also create a declining revenue source—as consumption of sugary beverages is already on the decline in Seattle—creating an undependable funding mechanism for important programs.

The Chamber also engaged in conversations with partner organizations like the Seattle Restaurant Alliance and the Ethnic Business Coalition, both of whom, along with others, expressed significant concern regarding the impact of this tax on their member companies—especially small and minority-owned restaurants and retailers. This is also consistent with what the Chamber heard from members in small group meetings with Mayor Ed Murray and his staff.

While the intention of improving education and health outcomes for the city is important to the Chamber and its members, this tax proposal does not provide a clear and effective solution for the needs of the community.

For more information about this issue, please contact Kyla Shkerich, the Chamber’s policy and outreach manager.