This new year means the first day of a new tax for those who love soda and sugary drinks in Seattle. Distributors will pay 1.75 cents extra per ounce on soda and sugary drinks, but there's no doubt customers will end up paying the price.
At 206 Burger in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood, they haven't raised the price of drinks but say it's inevitable. Owner Suren Shrustha says he's been warned his cost might nearly double.
“My soda right now is $2.49 so if I double it, that's like the price of the burger I don't think people will be paying that for the soda," said Shrustha.
While the tax is only on sugary drinks, they can't have employees police the soda machine so everyone would likely have to pay extra. Shrustha says the restaurant is currently using syrup purchased before the tax and they plan to keep the price down as long as they can.
“I don't want to upset customers, it's a difficult situation,” he explained. He wonders how healthy it will make people since the cost of a shake will soon be about the same as soda.
A few doors down, the owner of a small convenience store spent New Year's Eve changing the prices on the tags and rearranging the drinks inside the coolers. “It's not just soda pop, there are some juices and energy drinks that are being taxed, too,” he said. It was time-consuming figuring out what does and doesn't qualify and they're worried about what it will mean for low-income customers and their own bottom line.
The tax is expected to generate 15 million dollars the first year and that money will be used for health and education programs and to fund a UW study to look at the impact of the tax.