Monday, October 26, 2020
Oct. 26, 2020

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No on 1107: Initiative favors special interests over residents’ welfare

The Columbian
Published:

Initiative Measure No. 1107 concerns reversing certain 2010 amendments to state tax laws. This measure would end sales tax on candy, end temporary sales tax on some bottled water, end temporary excise taxes on carbonated beverages, and reduce tax rates for certain food processors.

Should this measure be enacted into law? ( ) Yes ( ) No

For more information about Initiative 1107, including official impact and explanatory statements and statements for and against, visit http://www.vote.wa.gov, then click on “2010 General Election Voters’ Guide,” then click on “State Measures.”

The American Beverage Association (ABA), national lobbying arm of the soda industry, is asking you to give them a tax break. In fact, they’re willing to spend over $14 million in Washington state to make sure you give them that tax break by passing Initiative 1107.Even if they only spend the majority of the money they’ve put into the campaign, it will set a record for spending on an initiative in our state.

Initiative 1107 would repeal small — and mostly temporary — taxes on soda pop, bottled water, candy and gum. The Children’s Alliance played a leading role in pushing for these taxes. The money they raise — more than $100 million per year — funds early childhood education, K-12, health care, protections for seniors and kids, and other important services. Without them, you can expect further, more severe cuts to programs for children, seniors and other vulnerable populations.

The ABA is running a deceptive campaign, claiming I-1107 is about food. But don’t be fooled; the ABA is not only funding the initiative, they wrote it, using experience gained in other states. They cynically included a provision to reinstate a preferential tax loophole for manufacturers of certain processed foods — a loophole legislators closed last session because it had been subject to abuse. According to the non-partisan Office of Financial Management (OFM), opening that tax loophole accounts for less than 4 percent of the revenue in I-1107. There is no food tax in Washington. Soda pop and candy are not food.

Initiative Measure No. 1107 concerns reversing certain 2010 amendments to state tax laws. This measure would end sales tax on candy, end temporary sales tax on some bottled water, end temporary excise taxes on carbonated beverages, and reduce tax rates for certain food processors.

Should this measure be enacted into law? ( ) Yes ( ) No

For more information about Initiative 1107, including official impact and explanatory statements and statements for and against, visit http://www.vote.wa.gov, then click on "2010 General Election Voters' Guide," then click on "State Measures."

I-1107 is about soda company profits at the expense of Washingtonians. If I-1107 passes, the same essential services that narrowly avoided cuts last session will be back on the chopping block in January. These additional cuts would come on top of the $4.4 billion that’s already been cut from the budget during the previous legislative session. More than 40,000 people were kicked off the state Basic Health Plan. Thousands of education jobs were eliminated. Class sizes are soaring and college tuition has skyrocketed by nearly 30 percent. Further cuts to essential services will do serious harm to children and seniors. While the soda industry will reap more profits, our children’s health and education will suffer and Washingtonians will pay the price, with more people using the emergency room since they no longer have health coverage.

According to the OFM, Initiative 1107 will also cut revenue to cities and counties by an additional $83 million, and will cut funding for state performance audits as well.

In these tough economic times, we can’t afford to give big, out-of-state special interests tax breaks at the expense of Washington residents. The small, temporary tax on candy and soda was part of a balanced solution to managing the economic recession, which included $4 in cuts for every $1 in new revenue. Across the country, many states are taking a balanced approach to budget shortfalls by approving small, reasonable taxes on nonessential items like candy and soda in order to protect education and health care services.

Another consideration is the health impact of sugar-sweetened soda and candy. Soda pop and candy have zero nutritional value and contribute to an epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes — with taxpayers footing the bill for resulting health costs. The two extra cents we pay for a 12-ounce soft drink is helping thousands of children get the things they need to stay healthy. I-1107 would undo that, lining the pockets of out-of-state soda companies, while continuing to encourage consumption of sugary drinks and candy.

Numerous advocates for children, the elderly and education — including the Children’s Alliance, Community Health Network of Washington, Elder Health Northwest, Washington Association of Churches, Citizens to Protect Our Economic Future, the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Washington State Public Health Association — have joined together to oppose Initiative 1107.

Don’t let out-of-state special interests hurt Washington children and families. Vote No on 1107.

Paola Maranan is executive director of the Children’s Alliance (ww.childrensalliance.org).

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