NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a ballot title and explanatory statement for a Multnomah County Initiative Petition has been filed with the Multnomah County Director of Elections.  The initiative petition complies with constitutional requirements. Any registered voter in Multnomah County dissatisfied with the ballot title and explanatory statement may file a petition with the Multnomah County Circuit Court for review on or before 5:00 PM, June 28, 2016.  Any person filing a challenge must also file a copy of the challenge with the Director of Elections, 1040 SE Morrison St., Portland, by the end of the next business day after the petition is filed with the Circuit Court.

CAPTION: Taxes sugary drink distribution, dedicates revenue to children’s health, education.

QUESTION: Should Distributors pay excise tax of $0.01 per ounce on sugary drinks with revenues used exclusively for children’s health and education?

SUMMARY: Creates a Multnomah County Ordinance that imposes an excise tax of $0.01 per fluid ounce on businesses that distribute in Multnomah County Sugar Sweetened Beverage Products and products used to make them. Defines Distribution as transfer from one business entity to another; excludes retail sales to consumers; applies only to first non-exempt Distribution within Multnomah County. Sugar Sweetened Beverage Products defined as nonalcoholic beverages containing one or more Added Caloric Sweeteners and more than 2 calories per ounce of beverage.  Exempts milk, milk alternatives, natural fruit and/or vegetable juices; products intended as supplemental meal or meal replacements. Creates “The Children’s Health and Education Fund”, requires revenues from tax to be placed in Fund and used to fund programs primarily serving children in low income communities and communities of color that promote physical exercise, health, nutrition, early childhood education initiatives. Requires Tax to be collected, enforced and administered by County Tax Administrator.  Creates Children’s Health Fund Advisory Committee; advises Board of County Commissioners on effectiveness of tax on distribution and consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverage Products.


This Measure would create a Multnomah County Ordinance that imposes an excise tax of $0.01 per fluid ounce on Distributors of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Products (SSBP), which include but are not limited to beverages commonly referred to as soda, pop, cola, soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened iced teas or sweetened coffee drinks.  

SSBP does not include Milk, Milk alternatives, fruit juice, vegetable juice, infant formula, beverages for Medical Use, or any product designed as supplemental or meal replacement and which contains proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

A Distributor is defined as a Business Entity doing business in Multnomah County and that transfers title of SSBP to another Business Entity in Multnomah County, and includes a business entity that transports SSBP purchased outside the County for the purposes of retail sale within the County.  The County’s jurisdiction over Distributors extends to all persons doing business in Multnomah County as defined in the Multnomah County Business Income Tax Code. 

Retail sales of SSBP to a consumer are not subject to the tax.

The tax is levied upon the first non-exempt distribution of SSBP.  Distribution of SSBP may not be taxed more than once in the chain of commerce of Distributors subject to the jurisdiction of the County. 

The following Distributors are exempt from the tax: Distributors not legally subject to taxation by the County; distribution to a Retailer of sugar or other sweeteners sold by a Retailer such as a grocery store; and Distribution of small-batch nonalcoholic SSBP produced in the County by a manufacturer licensed pursuant to ORS 635.027.

Provides for administration of the tax by County or by contract with a State agency, limits amount spent on administration to 5% of proceeds.

Proceeds from the tax are dedicated to “Children’s Health and Education Fund” for programs primarily serving children in low income communities and communities of color that increase physical fitness; improve nutrition, dental health; reduce health disparities, support early childhood education. Requires a performance audit of the Fund every other year.

Establishes The Children’s Health and Education Fund Advisory Committee comprised of 15 members.  Provides for appointment of Committee members by the County Board of Commissioners based upon recommendations of  Regional Health Equity Coalition, All Hand Raised, Multnomah County Youth Commission, Oregon Hunger-Relief Task Force, and Multnomah County Health Department. Requires Advisory Committee to advise County on the effectiveness of the excise tax in reducing Distribution and consumption of SSBP,  the impact on beverage prices, on consumer purchasing, and on health outcomes, and to make recommendations regarding funding of programs.

Requires County Auditor to conduct performance audit every other year.

Specifies an operative date for Ordinance of 1/1/2017, and an operative date for imposition and collection of tax of 1/1/2018.

Tim Scott,
Multnomah County Director of Elections