Seattle’s city government had to include diet soda in their definition of what the soda tax would cover because it would have excluded “white people” if they didn’t.
The Seattle City Council approved a proposal by Mayor Ed Murray (D) to impose a new tax on sales of soda, coffee, and other beverages containing sugar and artificial sweeteners.
In May, Murray revised a previously announced soda tax to include “diet” drinks containing non-caloric artificial sweeteners, after city Councilmember Tim Burgess raised concerns about the regressive nature of soda taxes. Burgess cited research studies showing taxes levied on added-sugar drinks took more money from low-income earners and minority demographics than other classes.
“After Murray’s initial announcement, some suggested the exclusion of beverages with artificial sweeteners would be unfair because affluent white people tend to consume more diet drinks,” The Seattle Times reported on April 27.