Even as Tim Eyman weighs his options for bringing new taxes on grocery items to a public vote, the bottlers’ state trade group is making its own effort at repeal.
The Washington Beverage Association today filed two initiatives. One would end the taxes on bottled water, soda pop, candy and gum and makers of certain processed foods. The other would repeal those taxes plus the increase in the beer tax.
Tim Martin, president of the association, said in a statement:
We haven’t decided yet which version to pursue. We are just getting started. We expect to have strong support for this initiative from taxpayers, businesses and organizations across the state.
Unlike Eyman’s measures, the bottlers are seeking to overturn the change in taxation of processed foods.
The somewhat esoteric change, which has already gone into effect, is meant to correct a court decision that expanded the eligibility for a preferential B&O tax rate. The tax break was intended for meat, fruit and vegetable processors, but the court said it applied to anything that used those foods as ingredients, like canned chili. Now, manufacturers that get the break will actually have to produce meat products, or else foods that contain at least 50 percent fruit or veggies.