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Petitions against pop, candy taxes to hit streets Friday

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on June 10, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
June 10, 2010 6:52 pm

A judge today gave the final sign-off to Initiative 1107, allowing bottlers and their paid signature gatherers to start collecting signatures on their tax rollback measure.

They’ll be on the streets Friday, state bottling industry association president Tim Martin says — not to mention in convenience stores and other places where their soda and bottled water are sold.

They need support from 241,000 registered voters, in what would be a record-setting three week sprint, before they can put on the ballot the measure to end this year’s new taxes on soda pop, candy, gum and bottled water. I-1107 also would roll back a change that taxes more food processors.

But the American Beverage Association, the trade group bankrolling the measure, has chipped in more than $1.3 million already, increasing their chances. “We do have the infrastructure out there that can get this accomplished,” Martin said.

With his tweaks to the ballot language, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks pleased pro-revenue groups more than supporters of the tax rollback.

His changes will give less prominence to the food-processing tax change, which the pro-revenue coalition says is a small, less significant part of the tax increases. They were probably included to “mislead the voters that this initiative is about repealing taxes on groceries,” coalition spokesman Sandeep Kaushik said.

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