Officials could look elsewhere for cash as Seattle’s sugar taxes lag

(The Center Square) – Money from Seattle’s tax on sweetened beverages is still below pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, and city officials say they’ll push for a new revenue stream.

In 2022, sweetened beverage tax revenues increased by about 11% [$2 million] from 2021 levels to approximately $21 million. The pandemic caused the tax revenue to drop to a low of $17.3 million in 2020. The report notes that despite the robust growth, revenues are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels.

In 2019, the tax generated $22 million and about $23 million in 2018. The standard tax rate for the sweetened beverage tax is about 18 cents per ounce. There is a reduced tax rate for certified manufacturers of one cent per ounce.

Seattle taxpayers reported over 1.2 billion ounces, or approximately 9.3 million gallons of sugar-sweetened beverages distributed into the city in 2022. However, many of those ounces are consumed by
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