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Does Washington State Tax Groceries? Proponents of I-1107 Say So. We Say, Not So Fast.

According to a Yes on 1107 television ad, the State of Washington is currently imposing a tax on grocery items – not just candy, soda and bottled water – including foods made of meats, fruits and vegetables.

According to the Seattle Times, this ad is very misleading about what is classified as a food or grocery item and grossly emphasizes how many items are actually subject to the “Soda and Candy” tax:

The ad leaves the impression that the new taxes cover a wide swath of food products you might buy at the grocery store… But the taxes affect only a narrow range of products most people would consider food or groceries, so we label this ad mostly false.

While the classification scheme for what constitutes candy is not perfect (candies made with flour are exempt from the tax), the majority of the items taxed are not considered grocery or food items. The definition of candy items was taken from a 42-state coalition of state and local government and business owners called the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board.

The problem with this ad is not its saying that new taxes were imposed on candy, soda and bottled water. The problem with this ad is the generous definition of food and grocery items it uses.

Learn more about I-1107.

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