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Seattle Mayor Proposes Soda Tax for Education

Delivering his annual State of the City address from a North Seattle mosque, Mayor Ed Murray announced Tuesday he will seek a $55 million per-year property-tax levy to combat homelessness and a soda tax to fund education programs.

Murray’s soda tax would raise about $16 million per year. Distributors of sugary drinks would pay two cents per ounce.

Several other cities have enacted similar taxes, Murray said, mentioning San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Seattle’s tax would cover not only sodas such as Coke and Pepsi but also energy and sports drinks such as Monster, Red Bull and Gatorade, some fruit drinks such as Sunny D, and sweetened tea and coffee drinks like those sold by Arizona and Starbucks.

Revenue from the tax would support various programs aimed at reducing disparities in education outcomes between the city’s white students and students of color.