For people in Seattle, the new year brought in a new tax. In 2017, Seattle’s city council passed a 1.75 cent per ounce tax on beverages with sugar, including sports drinks, juices, teas – even meal supplements like Ensure are impacted. Starting Jan. 1, the tax went into effect and already small businesses are having to navigate the new tax and are concerned what it will mean not only for their customers but also their bottom line. One store owner was quoted, “I don't want to upset customers, it's a difficult situation.”
Some retailers posted signage around the tax, including at a Seattle Costco. Take a look at this tweet showing the price mark-up when the tax is added:
To help mitigate the sticker shock, Costco helpfully noted that there were several other close locations outside of city limits where products aren’t subject to the tax. We know that in other cities with beverage taxes, that’s exactly what people do – they go to where there isn’t a tax.
Reactions from Seattlites continue to bubble up but the message is clear – beverage taxes are putting a burden on the community.