Tanika here from the Food Access Team with an update. Right, we have a big opportunity to influence City Council to devote the Sugary Beverage Tax revenue toward education and access programs to close the food security gap!
Will you come out and support these demands by attending the next City Council meeting on Monday, May 17th? Show Up with Got Green at City Hall (City Hall, 601 5th Ave. Seattle, WA 98104.) to Close the Food Security Gap!
The first proposal that we received from the Mayor for revenue created from the Sugary Beverage Tax funded mostly educational programs and very little towards food access. The proposal stated that $1 million dollars would go towards fresh bucks since the program will most likely lose it’s yearly federal funding of $800,000. Revenue from the first proposal did not include diet soda, medical drinks, dairy, or 100% juice and was estimated to be $16 million per year at the rate of 2 cents per ounce. The latest proposal includes diet soda and has a reduced rate of 1.75 cents per ounce. With those amendments to the proposal the new estimated revenue of the tax is $23 million dollars.
Unfortunately the Fresh Bucks program could possibly lose federal funding around 2020 and this is a great opportunity for the City of Seattle to fund the successful and expanding program. However, we still need City Council to address the need of those 122,000 households to have access to affordable, healthy foods and Close the Food Security Gap!
The current proposal is better than the first, but we believe that City Council can do even better. We say, “do not let this be a missed opportunity.” We, the undersigned community members demand that majority of the revenue of the Sugary Beverage Tax be spent on programs to close the food security gap and community controlled prevention.
This is a unique opportunity to close the food security gap, which refers to people who are cut off from eligibility for food assistance, yet struggle to put healthy food on the table for them and their families. Almost half (45%) of food-insecure households earn above 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and an estimated 122,000 Seattle households are unable to afford healthy food on their tables.
In Seattle, where the cost of living is so high, the eligibility requirement doesn’t cut it for families in need. Groceries cost more in Seattle than all other Washington cities. In fact, the consumer price index for grocers in Seattle is 15% higher than the national average.
We ask that the City of Seattle engage with communities that will be most negatively impacted by this proposal. We propose that a majority of the revenues generated by the tax help to address the public health concerns, prevention of obesity and diabetes, necessitating this proposal. We also propose that the revenues target investments in food security programs, expanding access to healthy food, creating sustainable, local food system, closing the food security gap. There is little to no existing revenue to accomplish these goals.
We ask the community to come out and support these demands by attending the City Council meeting on Wednesday, May 17th @ 8:45 am in City Hall, located at 601 5th Ave. Seattle, WA 98104. And please sign the petition if you haven’t already!
The only way that our demands will be heard is if we take this opportunity to tell them what it is that we want!!