Got a Sweet Tooth? It'll Cost You: New Wash. Candy/Gum/Bottled - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Got a Sweet Tooth? It'll Cost You: New Wash. Candy/Gum/Bottled Water Tax Now in Effect

OLYMPIA, Wash.- Starting today, the state will rely even more on its citizens doing things they probably shouldn't — or perhaps shouldn't do as much. If you enjoy the following, you'll be paying for it:


  • Candy
  • Gum
  • Bottled Water
  • Beer (except Microbrews)
  • Cigarettes ($1/Pack tax started in May)
  • Soda Pop (starting July 1)

Taxes on candy, gum, bottled water and beer are expected to bring in a combined $122 million over the next year to help deal with a $2.8 billion state budget gap stemming largely from the recession.


Smokers and those of you who enjoy a soda also are being tapped: A $1-per-pack boost in the cigarette tax kicked in May 1, and a tax on carbonated beverages starts July 1. Together, those two are expected to bring in $135 million by the end of June 2011.


Those taxes and more — nearly $800 million in all — were included in a budget package that also enacted $755 million in cuts and garnered $1.3 billion from tapping reserves, federal aid and one-time fund shifts.


In this one instance lawmakers are stuck in the position of actually hoping people don't change their bad habits. If people do change their habits, revenue will go down and the tax will have been all for nothing. Some experts say that's not likely to happen, at least eventually. It may go down at the beginning, but people like what they like and eventually, lawmakers believe, they'll be back buying.


The good news, if there is any, is that the tax is temporary. It's only in place for the next three years. Lawmakers hope that will be enough time to bring Washington's budget back from the brink of devastation.

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