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For some voters, filing their taxes is one of the only regular interactions they have with the government. It's no surprise, then, that many of them feel strongly about the topic.
On Tuesday, voters in several states had a chance to weigh in on what does and does not get taxed -- Groceries? Tampons? Tobacco?
Residents in the Pacific Northwest were split on two similar ballot measures that would have banned any new taxes on groceries -- with the exception of tobacco, alcohol and marijuana.
Oregon rejected its measure, while Washington voters appear poised to pass its grocery tax ban. With 64 percent of precincts reporting, 54 percent were in favor.
Oregon’s was more stringent, retroactively applying to any tax passed after Oct. 1, 2017. If approved, it would have killed a soda tax passed in Multnomah County. It would also have prevented the state from enacting any new grocery taxes, whereas Washington’s would only ban local grocery taxes.
Advocates of the measures said it’s a way to make food more affordable for struggling families.
"Heaping taxes on everyday grocery items will raise our cost of living and make it even harder for working families, small businesses and their workers to get by," said a statement by Yes! To Affordable Groceries, a Washington state group that supported the measure.
Such taxes are regressive, meaning they take a proportionally larger share of income from lower- and middle-income residents than from wealthier taxpayers. Daniel Floy, a spokesperson for the Measure 103 campaign in Oregon, said grocery taxes keep popping up in the statehouse and city halls, and this initiative would have killed them once and for all.
"We’re done fighting them. It’s not something we want to keep fighting year after year," said Floy.