Tax-on-soda plan postponed till 2018

Plan would have put 18-cent tax on a 12-ounce soda

A Coca-Cola soft drink vending machine sits in a cafeteria in Boston, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — Proponents of a tax on soda and sweetened beverages in Multnomah County are now shooting for the 2018 election instead of this November.

Christina Bodamer, of the Oregon chapter of the American Heart Association, wrote in an email that while the groups supporting the proposed tax are keeping their options open,”The coalition has officially decided to move our campaign to 2018.”

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Bodamer did not give a reason, but the group had faced a looming July 25 deadline to turn in more than 17,000 signatures to get on the November ballot. It also had been doing some follow-up polling in June.

Finally, it also had set an ambitious fund-raising goal of $5 million to take on an expected big-spending campaign by the beverage industry to defeat the measure.

The measure would tax soda and other beverages 1.5 cents per ounce, or 18 cents for a 12-ounce can, to raise an estimated $28 million a year for Multnomah County. The money is intended to be spent on children’s health programs, among other things.

Bodamer added that the group continues to gather endorsements, “and we’re kicking off a robust summer public education program that will bring our messages directly to families and small businesses.”