Seattle's Sugary Drink Tax Kicks In With New Year

Posted On: 1/17/2018

  • Printer Friendly Version
  • Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
  • PDF

SEATTLE -- Seattle's sweetened beverage tax went into effect on Jan. 1.

The 1.75¢-per-fluid-ounce tax on the distribution of sodas and other sweetened beverages including sports and energy drinks passed in June.

A regular can of soda now costs an extra 21¢; a 20-fl.oz. bottle costs an extra 35¢. Distributors are required to pay the tax and are passing it on to consumers, who have been pushing back by leaving the city limits to purchase their soft drinks.

Retailers like Costco have posted signs directing their customers to locations outside city limits where they can buy the product without paying the tax.  

The City of Seattle said the new tax is expected to generate about $15 million in the first year. It's earmarked for promoting access to healthy food and to fill educational funding shortfalls.

Critics say the tax hits low-income consumers and small business owners the most.

In January, Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to enact a soda tax, at 1.5¢ per ounce. It applies to both sugary and diet soft drinks. | READ MORE

The Chicago area's Cook County enacted a similar soda tax last summer, which was repealed within two months after opposition from businesses and consumers.