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Seattle Proposes Soda Tax

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has proposed a local tax on sugary beverages, including some forms of carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, juice and sweetened teas, to help fund new education investments to help eliminate the opportunity gap between white and minority students.

The proposed ordinance, which would impose a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on distributors of sugary drinks, is similar to recently passed taxes in other regions of the United States, including Philadelphia; Cook County, Ill.; Boulder, Colo.; and several cities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said soda taxes are 'the single most-effective remedy to reverse the obesity epidemic,'" Mayor Murray's website said, "and a similar tax in Berkeley, Calif., reduced the consumption of sugary drinks by 20 percent.”

The proposed tax is expected to raise $16 million per year to fund programs recommended by the Education Summit Advisory Group. Revenue raised will be primarily focused toward funding recommendations from the Education Summit Advisory Group,  aimed at reducing disparities between white students and black students and other historically underrepresented students of color. As part of these programs, investments will be made for Birth-to-Five programs such as expansion of the Parent-Child Home Program, while additional funds will go to expanding healthy access through the Fresh Bucks program.

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