NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Hey, Northwesterners: Is your vote for sale? Big Soda would buy it from you if they could

Dur­ing my life­time, I’ve seen some pret­ty grotesque, obscene, and over-the-top polit­i­cal cam­paigns. But there’s some­thing par­tic­u­lar­ly offen­sive and dis­gust­ing about the high fruc­tose syrup soaked cam­paign to pass Ini­tia­tive 1634, Big Soda’s shame­less attempt to strip cities in Wash­ing­ton (except for Seat­tle) of the free­dom to impose a sweet­ened sug­ary bev­er­age tax down the road.

A recent Elway Poll hilar­i­ous­ly showed the ini­tia­tive los­ing, even though the oppo­si­tion coali­tion (which includes NPI) has almost no mon­ey and has done lit­tle cam­paign­ing. Big Soda’s response to this was to open their wal­lets and pump mil­lions more into the cof­fers of the I‑1634 cam­paign. Much of the mon­ey is going to decep­tive mail­ers that are flood­ing into mail­box­es all over the state.

A grand total of ten — yes, ten — almost iden­ti­cal­ly-designed mail­ers have showed up in my mail­box thus far, and I’m guess­ing more are on the way.

All of these mail­ers con­tain out­ra­geous false­hoods, like “Close the gro­cery tax loop­hole” and “Stop politi­cians from tax­ing gro­ceries”. Of course, there is no gro­cery tax loop­hole and no elect­ed leader is propos­ing that gro­ceries be taxed. But facts are not impor­tant to Big Soda and their allies — prof­its are.

One of their mail­ers depicts a black woman hold­ing a car­ton of what appears to be milk. Anoth­er has stock pho­tos of toast, bananas, meat, cheese, broc­coli, and noo­dles on it. None of these gro­ceries are cur­rent­ly taxed in Wash­ing­ton — not by the state, nor by any of its local gov­ern­ments — and there is no chance of them being taxed in the future, either, but Big Soda wants every­one to think otherwise.

This is self-serv­ing pro­pa­gan­da at its worst.

If Coca-Cola, Pep­si, Dr Pep­per Snap­ple Group, and Red Bull could buy your vote… say, for five bucks… they most assured­ly would. It’s not legal, which is why they’re doing TV media buys and these pathet­ic, fraud­u­lent mail­ers instead.

But if it were legal, it’s not hard to imag­ine Big Soda offer­ing ten bucks in return for proof of a “Yes” vote on their stu­pid scheme to rob local com­mu­ni­ties all over Wash­ing­ton of their free­dom to con­sid­er rais­ing mon­ey for pub­lic health pur­pos­es from a sug­ary sweet­ened bev­er­age tax like the one Seat­tle has.

Con­sid­er that Big Soda and their com­rades have already spent $15,817,596.55 in an attempt to pass I‑1634. That’s $3.71 for every reg­is­tered vot­er in the state as of Sep­tem­ber 13th, when there were 4,252,913 active vot­ers. Big Soda isn’t going to get every­body’s vote, so if you fig­ure that forty per­cent of the vot­ers vote no, then that means they’ll have spent around $6.20 to acquire each “Yes” vote. 

Of course, they’re not done spend­ing mon­ey — and if the per­cent­age of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans who see through their con is any­where close to what the Elway Poll and our own polling sug­gests it might be, then they will wind up hav­ing spent some­where close to $10 in pur­suit of each “Yes” vote.

South of the bor­der, in Ore­gon, Big Soda is run­ning a sim­i­lar con.

Mea­sure 103 is a pro­posed con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment to pro­hib­it state and local gov­ern­ments from enact­ing any tax­es on gro­ceries. Ore­gon does not cur­rent­ly levy a state sales tax at all, and only two cities — Ash­land and Yachats — levy a sales tax of five per­cent on pre­pared food and non-alco­holic drinks, which aren’t groceries.

As in Wash­ing­ton, there is no effort afoot in Ore­gon to levy a tax on gro­ceries. No elect­ed leader is talk­ing about one, and no local gov­ern­ment is propos­ing one.

But again, facts do not mat­ter to Big Soda. Real­i­ty is irrelevant.

“Yes! Keep Our Gro­ceries Tax Free” is the name of Big Soda’s oper­a­tion in Ore­gon, which is very sim­i­lar to the name of Big Soda’s afore­men­tioned Wash­ing­ton scam, “Yes! to Afford­able Gro­ceries”. The Amer­i­can Bev­er­age Asso­ci­a­tion, the cor­po­rate trade lob­by for Coca-Cola, Pep­si, Dr Pep­per Snap­ple Group, and Red Bull, is by far the top con­trib­u­tor to the Ore­gon Mea­sure 103 cam­paign, fol­lowed by Albert­sons Safe­way, Cost­co, and the North­west Gro­cery Association.

To date, the ABA has donat­ed $2,988,595.71 to the effort.

A sur­vey con­duct­ed by DHM Research for Ore­gon Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing in ear­ly Octo­ber found that despite Big Soda’s big spend­ing, Ore­go­ni­ans are just not enthused about Mea­sure 103. 47% of those sur­veyed say they’re lean­ing towards vot­ing no or cer­tain to vote no, while 33% were lean­ing yes or cer­tain to vote yes.

NPI has tak­en posi­tions oppos­ing Ini­tia­tive 1634 and Mea­sure 103.

We emphat­i­cal­ly urge all our read­ers to take a stand against greed this autumn by say­ing NO to these self-serv­ing schemes from Big Soda to change the laws of Wash­ing­ton and the Con­sti­tu­tion of Ore­gon for their own benefit.

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  1. My vote isn’t for sale. I’m a NO on I‑1634.

    # by Brandon Johnson :: November 1st, 2018 at 5:13 AM
  2. We’re all bet­ter off not con­sum­ing soda, it’s junk food. 

    # by Jenita Daniels :: November 17th, 2018 at 6:21 PM
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