Seattle residents are running to the hills to get away from the cities new soda tax. On January 1, the city put a 1.75 cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. When Chicago adopted a similar tax, public outcry forced the city to repeal it after just two months.
In Chicago, Costco posted new signage that explained the cost to consumers and pointed them to locations outside the city limit where they could buy their drinks without the tax. At locations where the tax was in place, sales dropped by 34% while the locations outside the city limits saw a 38% increase.
Costco has done it again in Seattle and the new cost is staggering. A pallet of sports drinks that previously cost only $15.99 now costs $26.33. While proponents see these taxes as helping public health, the reality is that it just pushes the sales of the drinks out of the city limits for those who can leave and makes the poor poorer by forcing them to pay more.
We’ll see if Seattle goes the way of Chicago or if the weekend exodus to get soda will continue.