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Proposed state initiative aims to ban soda taxes

The Associated Press

A group backed by the soda industry is seeking to bar cities and counties in Washington state from imposing their own taxes on sodas or other sweetened beverages.

The political committee, Yes! To Affordable Groceries, has submitted language for a proposed statewide initiative. The committee is a coalition of taxpayers, grocers, farmers and union members.

They’ll need to turn in signatures from 259,622 registered voters by July 6 to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

The group’s financial muscle comes from the American Beverage Association, with key donors including The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc.

A political coalition spreading the message includes the Joint Council of Teamsters No. 28, which represents beverage industry workers, the Washington Food Industry Association and the Korean-American Grocer’s Association of Washington.

In June, Seattle joined a handful of cities nationwide to pass a tax on soda and other sugary beverages. The tax took effect earlier this year. This movement is preemptive, blocking other Washington cities and counties from enacting the same thing.

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