Tuesday’s election results brought relief to Washington consumers and a hard fought victory for Washington confectioners.
The citizens of Washington overturned a food and beverage tax that would have cost consumers nearly $300 million over the next three years. This was achieved through the work of a coalition of consumers, retailers and food and beverage companies, including a strong push from The National Confectioners Association (NCA)’s Washington Confectionery Coalition, sending a clear message against arbitrary food and beverage taxes to state governments throughout the country.
“NCA is grateful to the members of our Washington State Confectionery Coalition, whose passion and hard work played a major role in the successful repeal of this unfair tax”, said Larry Graham, president of the NCA. “Coalition leader Pierson Clair of Brown and Haley led the effort to repeal the tax, and was joined by dozens of candy company leaders doing business in the state of Washington. The Washington state coalition has been a model for confectioners in other states to follow when it comes to effective involvement in public affairs.”
The state of Washington passed a food and beverage tax earlier this year that was so confusing and discriminatory that nearly 400,000 signatures were quickly collected to put the repeal on this month’s ballot. The confusing tax was nearly impossible to administer. Hundreds of candy products, like Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups-and even some other food products like energy bars-were taxed while hundreds of other candy products, like Kit Kat and Twix bars, were exempt. The tax was discriminatory, targeting just some types of food and beverages. It was also regressive, placing the largest burden on seniors and lower-income families who can least afford higher prices on the groceries they buy-especially at a time when many are already experiencing financial turmoil.
“NCA and its members sent a clear message to public officials in Washington and beyond that it is not acceptable to avoid making hard but necessary budgetary choices by instituting taxes that discriminate against certain business and burden all consumers,” said Graham. “Consumers demonstrated that they can see through these tactics, and that they are willing and able to take the necessary action to end them.”