The mayor of Seattle has altered the rules of his proposed soda tax — which would fund education for minorities–to include diet drinks because affluent white people tend to consume them more.
It would cover sodas such as Coke and Pepsi, energy drinks like Red Bull, fruit drinks, sweetened teas and bottled coffees such as those sold by Starbucks.
The Mayor claimed the tax would bring $16 million in revenue that would be spent on education programs aimed at reducing disparities between the city’s white students and students of color.
But the mayor has updated the plan after the staff of the mayor’s office told him that the tax would actually disproportionately fall on poor minorities, who have higher rates of soda consumption than white residents.
Murray changed the bill, lowering the levy to 1.75 cents per ounce and included diet drinks because they are by favored by affluent white city residents, despite the fact that most diet drinks have no calories and therefore don’t contribute to obesity.
According to Reason, taxing diet drinks has become “an issue of equality” to the mayor because they more likely to be consumed by “upper middle class white people” and therefore must be taxed as a way to fight “white privileged institutionalized racism.”
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