Seattle ‘Soda Tax’ Receipts Come Pouring In

By: - May 10, 2018 12:00 am

A customer shops for soda in Philadelphia. Receipts for “soda taxes” are pouring into Seattle’s city coffers. But other cities are facing court challenges to similar levies.

Matt Rourke/AP

Seattle “soda tax” revenue is exceeding projections, as city officials say the new tax has brought in more than $4 million in the first quarter of 2018.

As of May 4, the city had collected $4,082,015 from first quarter filers, according to the city’s communications director, Julie Moore. She added that the city is expecting that total to rise as checks are still coming in the mail.

The 1.75 cents an ounce tax on sugary beverages, syrups and concentrates went into effect Jan. 1. The city had estimated it would raise .8 million in 2018 — about $3.7 million per quarter. The tax covers sports drinks like Gatorade, energy drinks such as Red Bull, and fruit drinks like Sunny Delight, in addition to sugared soda. Diet sodas are exempt.

Philadelphia and Cook County, Illinois, also slapped taxes on sugary beverages last year. The Philadelphia tax was the subject of a lawsuit that is to be heard by the state Supreme Court this year. And the Cook County Board of Commissioners reversed itself in October 2017, just months after instituting the tax, and repealed it.

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Elaine S. Povich
Elaine S. Povich

Elaine S. Povich covers education and consumer affairs for Stateline. Povich has reported for Newsday, the Chicago Tribune and United Press International.