The American Heart Association and the Seattle Healthy Kids Coalition support the creation of a dedicated fund for Sweetened Beverage Tax (SBT) revenue. This will improve transparency and ensure that revenue is used as intended – to expand food access and early learning programs in Seattle.
Why do we need this ordinance?
- The City of Seattle promised to invest tax revenue in expanded food access and early education programs in communities disproportionately affected by chronic disease and targeted by soda industry advertising. Creating a dedicated Sweetened Beverage Tax fund would improve transparency and ensure that revenue is used as intended.
Where did the tax revenue go?
- The Sweetened Beverage Tax requires that revenue be used for food access and early education programs. The intent has always been to expand these programs and serve more people in our city. However, the City of Seattle has used some revenue to fund underlying maintenance budgets for these programs, freeing up money for other city programs.
- This proposed ordinance will ensure that revenue is being used for growth and expansion of food access and early learning programs, fulfilling the promise to community.
Is the tax working?
- The Sweetened Beverage Tax was designed to improve health by 1) decreasing consumption and 2) investing in food access and early learning programs.
- Diverse communities in Seattle have already benefited from meaningful investments in programs and services.
- The effect of the tax on sales and consumption is currently being studied and results are expected this fall, but similar taxes in other places have been shown to be effective in decreasing consumption.
Communities in Seattle have already benefited from tax revenue:
- Fresh Bucks expansion benefiting SNAP recipients and food
- Expansion of food bank programs at existing locations
- Support for birth-to-3 child care providers
- 13th Year Promise Scholarship
Similar taxes in other places have been shown to be effective in decreasing sales:
- Philadelphia: 38% net reduction in sales of taxed items
- Berkeley: 9.6% sales decline for sugary drinks
- Mexico: sales decreased over time, 6% decline in 2014 (ﬁrst year of
the tax) and 10% decline in 2015
How does actual revenue compare to projections?
- Different assumptions can be used to predict revenue from new taxes. Actual revenue from this tax happens to be higher than the city’s estimate, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that sales have increased. An evaluation of the tax’s effect on sales is in progress and results are expected this fall.
- The Rudd Center for Food Policy at the University of Connecticut offers one method for projecting sugary drink tax revenues.