Voters soon to decide on grocery tax ban initiative
YAKIMA, Wash.- Many locals are calling it one of the most controversial measures on the November ballot.
This grocery tax ban initiative seeks to ban local governments from adding any additional tax fees on grocery items that include raw or processed foods, and beverages.
This measure stemmed from Seattle recently raising the tax on sugary drinks.
It's a decision that owner of Wray's Food and Drug Store Chris Brown says would do nothing but hurt lower income families.
"When you have a tax that hit's the staple foods like meat and produce, People that are on a fixed income struggle from paycheck to paycheck. It's harder for them to recover from that additional tax whatever it may be," said Brown.
The ballot measure has been raising head's throughout the state. Some locals i talked to fearing it will take away local control. According to the public disclosure commission, more than $13 million have been donated from different soda companies supporting this initiative.
Brown says their funding isn't because they want to take control, but to bring awareness of the issue.
Brown says it would be wrong for groceries to cost a lot more depending on what city you shop in.
"The city of Seattle is one, then you cross the street to someone that's not in the city and the prices are different. That's confusing to the customer and it's not good either," said Brown.
The American Heart Association argues that the taxes on sugary foods help limit obesity. City councilwoman Kay Funk says although the council would most likely never implement a grocery tax because of our communities income rates, she says raising taxes on unhealthy items has proven to benefit people's health.
"When you have a destructive force and you make it more expensive it becomes less of a problem. We've certainly seen that with the cigarette tax, fewer people are smoking," said Funk.
But many shoppers i spoke with today believe adding a grocery tax increase won't change people's diet, it will just take more money out of the consumers pockets.
"I think it's a way of taxing us that's going to be ineffective. If they choose to not be involved with sweet drinks or carbonated drinks I think that's a diet chose that they have made, not because of the tax," said Yakima Shopper Lina Iasella.
If approved, the grocery tax initiative will be in affect by January 15. The last day to turn in your ballot is November 6.