See's Candy is encouraging its customers to call State Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43) and ask him why he hates our traditions, our occasional candy treats, our Easter, our Jesus, our children, etc. Pedersen responds:
I'm a co-sponsor of the original bill (HB 2388) that would have imposed sales tax (eliminated the exemption/loophole from sales tax?) on candy and gum to support public health. The proposal was included in the Governor's revenue package and also wrapped into the larger revenue package that passed out of the House a couple of weeks ago. I voted for it then.
I'm a huge fan of Fran's (dark chocolate gray salt caramels are my favorite), and Rose's chocolate treasures (at the market), and all sorts of other dark chocolate. That's not the issue. For me, the issue is whether it's more important to have a tax break on chocolate or the various state services that are on the margin for being eliminated (Basic Health Plan, HIV/AIDS funding, etc.). The candy tax break costs about $30 million. Our total budget for HIV/AIDS services is roughly $20 million, and the House budget proposed to cut $3.5 million.
We don't tax food (anymore) because it is a necessity and a tax on food is extremely regressive. But candy and gum are not necessities. So I think that continuing their exemption from sales tax is, on balance, less important than preserving other services that might be cut.
Representative Jamie Pedersen
I'm a huge fan of See's cashew brittles myself and I can't imagine that I'm the only See's customer who's happy to pay sales tax on my occasional candy treats if it will help save services like the the state's Basic Health Plan. Anyone who wants to tell California-based See's to butt the fuck out of Washington state's tax policies, here you go.