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Seattle Times: Health Advocates Want Voters to Reconsider Soda Tax

By Josh Feit December 16, 2010

The Seattle Times quotes health care advocates homing in on the irony that voters repealed the temporary .2 tax on soda—"7-11 Taxes" as the populist anti-tax argument went—yet ended up seeing the governor, short on cash, decimate health care for poorer people. (Soda—loaded with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup—is widely seen as contributing to health problems like obesity and diabetes.)
Advocates for those who would be most affected by proposed social-services cuts say they wish the governor would consider asking voters one more time if they'd really rather have "cheap soda" than a health-care plan for the poor.

"The reality is that this budget was balanced on the back of health care for the poorest people," said Rebecca Kavoussi, an assistant vice president of the Community Health Network of Washington, which provides medical care to the poor and underinsured. "I wish the governor had not closed the door to the idea of asking people if they're sure they want to do this."

The governor is proposing a $1.4 billion cut to health and human services, including eliminating the Basic Health Plan (subsidized health care for 66,000 poor people).

One thing that's missing from the article, though: How much did the soda tax repeal actually cost the state? I-1107, which also repealed a temporary tax on bottled water and a permanent sales tax on candy and gum, will cost the state $54.8 million in fiscal year 2011 and $261.7 million in next biennium.

As for soda specifically: The loss is $23.1 million of the $54.8 million and $82.7 million of the $217.6 million.
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