This past year has been extremely challenging for smaller companies like ours in the food and beverage industry. Like our consumers, we are working toward recovery. This is why it is so disheartening to see the Washington Legislature propose a bill that would harm our local business partners and consumers alike.

Senate Bill 5371 would impose a 1.75 cent-per-ounce tax on any sweetened beverage, including our cane-sugar sodas. This tax will create a 21-cent increase on our drinks, which is a lot for a small business like ours.

It does not make sense to place additional obstacles on small businesses as we continue to struggle. We want relief from policymakers so that we can be a part of our region’s economic recovery, as employers and taxpayers. Legislators should be doing everything they can to help working families, small businesses and their employees, not hurt them.

Tell your legislator to oppose the beverage tax, SB 5371. Local companies like Jones Soda can’t afford more taxes. A bill like this could quietly wipe out several local businesses in Washington, taking with them the culture that makes our state special.

Mark Murray, president and CEO, Jones Soda, Seattle