Seattle Burger Joint Challenges City’s Soda Tax

soda tax

There wasn’t exactly an urban uprising when Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposed a tax on soda and other sugary drinks – but one small business owner is fighting his own battle against the measure.

Ryan Hopkins, owner of Burger Boss Drive-in, says the mayor’s proposal could force him to raise the price tag on his jumbo soda to $5 or more.

He phoned City Hall directly, and when he didn’t get a response, he put a provocative message outside his restaurant to get some attention. 

The sign says “HEY MR MAYOR $5 SODAS? UR POP TAX SUCKS!”

Hopkins says he reached out to the mayor in hopes of having a conversation but has not yet heard back.

“It’s a fairly large, and in my opinion, inappropriate tax on just one beverage or one sugar product when there’s so many other ones out there” he explained.

Hopkins explains that soft drink purchased can bring in about 25% of his profits on some days. He also worried that customers will simply go to nearby Burien for their fill, since the adjoining town does not have a tax.   

Hopkins’ sign quickly caught the attention of customers, who have mixed opinions about the tax and whether the restaurant owner should voice his opposition so publicly.

“He’s got good food; I’ll come whether I agree or disagree,” Lance Essex said.

Hopkins is hoping he’ll eventually get a meeting with a mayor and maybe convince him to include other types of sugary products in the tax to lessen the burden on soda specifically. “You can go to Starbucks and people are buying a candy bar in a cup, is that going to be part of the tax?” he said.

Hopkins admits he could add bottled water to the line-up at the Boss Drive-in but says most of his customers can’t imagine grabbing a burger without a cold soda.

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Seattle Burger Joint Challenges City’s Soda Tax