Neighbors in Need
Today we are happy to report the final tally for the 2017 Neighbors in Need campaign. Because of all the generous people who donated to the fund drive, $56,069 was raised to help local people in need of food.
We are humbled, appreciative and thankful for every dollar given. The 2017 campaign is the second highest donation total in the history of NIN, which is impressive.
We can’t say thank you enough.
Seattle sugary drink tax
The actions of the Seattle City Council continue to provide us with plenty to write about.
One of the city’s newest taxes, the sugary beverage tax, recently went into effect and it is causing some indigestion among consumers.
The prices of sugary drinks have raised dramatically because of the tax. At a Seattle Costco, the tax increased the cost of a case of Gatorade from $15.99 to more than 26 bucks. A regular case of Coca-Cola now costs $7.35 more than a case of diet Coke.
The City of Seattle is trying to change residents’ behavior, specifically by luring them into buying and consuming fewer sugary beverages.
As we have detailed on the opinion page before, taxes discourage behavior, while incentives encourage behavior. Seattle public officials have chosen to punish people for drinking a Pepsi.
The city expects to collect about $15 million a year from the sugary drink tax with the money supposedly to be used to give residents greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
We expect this is the politically correct marketing reason behind the tax, but the reality is the sugary drink tax is a method for local government to control citizens’ behavior.
Let’s be honest. If people want to drink Coca-Cola made with sugar, they will find a way to get the beverage.
The reaction to the litany of laws affecting Seattle businesses led to one Subway sandwich franchise owner placing a sign on the store’s front door indicating he could not participate in the company’s current sandwich promotion.
The sign reads:
“Dear Seattle Subway Patrons,
WE ARE NOT PARTICIPATING IN THE $4.99 FOOTLONG PROMOTION
The cost of doing business in the City of Seattle is very high. We are balancing the Highest Minimum Wage in the Nation, Paid Sick Leave, ACA, Secure Scheduling, Soda Tax and much more.”
There is more wording on the sign, but you get the message.
At a Seattle Costco store, a sign details the new sugary beverage tax and informs customers if they shop at Costco locations in Shoreline or Tukwila, which are outside the Seattle city limits, they will not suffer paying the tax.
In October 2017, a similar sugary beverage tax was repealed in Chicago. After the tax created a firestorm of opposition, the Cook County commissioners voted 15-1 to repeal the tax.
In a USA Today story, William Dermody, vice president of media and public affairs at the American Beverage Association said, “This shows that momentum is swinging against beverage taxes. Beverage taxes are really a money grab that has nothing to do with public health.”
Four cities joined Seattle in establishing a new sugary drink tax this year – San Francisco; Philadelphia; Berkeley, California; and Boulder, Colorado.
We will follow the story to see how each city defines the success of the tax. Will citizens develop better eating habits? Will obesity rates decline? Or, will success be defined by how much money the cities collect?
Seattle used to be one of the most amazing cities in the country. Now, the city is defined by sky-high housing prices, record homelessness, confiscatory taxes, a problematic police department and endless road congestion.
Thank God for Cowlitz County.
Abolish death penalty?
It appears the death penalty will be discussed during the current state legislative session, specifically whether or not it should be abolished.
The TDN editorial board is divided on our beliefs regarding the death penalty. However, we all agree the cost to litigate and administer the death penalty is more expensive than keeping people behind bars.
According to www.deathpenaltyinfo.org, 31 states currently have death penalty laws on the books, 19 states have abolished the death penalty and four states are under gubernatorial moratoria. Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee placed a moratorium on the death penalty not long after he took office.
Since 2007, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland repealed the death penalty.
While abolishing the death penalty may be popular in some states, it is not the case across the country. The Nebraska Legislature abolished the death penalty in 2015, only to see it reinstated by statewide initiative in 2016 when an amazing 61 percent of the Nebraska voters elected to bring back the death penalty.
We want to see the Washington State Legislature determine a Hirst Decision fix, approve the capital budget and see the one-year education funding shortfall solved through using cash reserves before spending time on the death penalty currently under a moratorium.