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Voters likely to decide whether to bar local soda taxes

File photo (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington voters will likely be asked this November whether local governments should be barred from placing new taxes on soda or other grocery items.

The Spokesman-Review reports that backers of Initiative 1634 turned in more than 291,000 signatures on their petitions to the secretary of state’s office in Olympia Thursday and plan to turn in another 60,000 by Friday’s deadline.

They’ll need nearly 260,000 to qualify for the November ballot.

If approved, the measure would prevent cities and counties from imposing their own taxes on sodas or other sweetened beverages. The measure does not prevent the state from doing so and it would not affect Seattle’s soda tax that took effect this year.

The campaign supporting the measure has raised about $4.7 million, with The Coca-Cola Co. contributing $2.2 million and PepsiCo, Inc. giving $1.7 million.

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