What do three weeks and $2.7 million get you?
A spot on the ballot, if you’re the national soft drink industry – and if you have a populist rallying cry for Washington state to get its hands out of Joe (Pop) Sixpack’s grocery cart.
There’s little question that voters will consider Initiative 1107 this November, after the campaign dropped off what it estimates at 395,000 voter signatures at the secretary of state’s office today.The measure would roll back taxes on soda pop, bottled water, food processing businesses, candy and gum.
Bottlers gathered far more than the 241,000 names they need to check out as valid, in an apparently record-breaking three weeks.
The American Beverage Association, the trade group for nonalcoholic beverage makers and bottlers, has ponied up more than $2.7 million so far. Much of it paid for signature gatherers, mailings and other costs of the petition campaign, but there may be money left over to finance an election fight. The group’s total spending to date isn’t publicly available yet.
Unions and the health care industry have raised $195,000 so far in an attempt to defeat the measure and keep voters from blowing a $100 million-per-year hole in the state budget.