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Ballot Initiative Would Prevent New Taxes On Groceries


A group has been gathering signatures for a ballot initiative meant to prevent new taxes on groceries in Washington state. The Yes! To Affordable Groceries initiative was drafted in direct response to Seattle’s sugary beverage tax.


That took effect at the beginning of this year and has already generated more than $4 million in revenue.




But Tyler Cox, who is the president of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, says implementing that tax was the wrong move. He’s worried Seattle’s actions could open the door to even more.


“We are coming out with the strong message saying food is not the place we need to be going to fund any budgetary requirements,” Cox said.


He says he’s been hearing about the potential for taxing other groceries, such as dairy, poultry and eggs.


"Food is not a choice. It's not like buying a new electronic gadget. Everybody has to eat," Cox said. 


The measure would prohibit new local taxes and cap existing ones on groceries at current rates. It would not rollback taxes that already exist, like the one in Seattle. The group needs 259,622 signatures by July 6 to get the initiative on the November ballot.


Initiative 1634 is also backed by groups such as the Washington Farm Bureau and the Washington Food Industry Association.




Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.