What promised to be the biggest-dollar tax measure on a quiet November ballot will now move to 2018.
That's the decision made last week by the group pushing a 1.5 cent per-ounce tax in Multnomah County on sweetened drinks, including sodas, teas and energy drinks.
Proponents, backed by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, spent $8 million to pass a similar measure in San Francisco last year. The drink industry spent $22 million trying to defeat the tax. The Seattle city council approved a tax in June.
The Multnomah County measure would fund fitness and health-related services for low-income children.
Christina Bodamer, a lobbyist for the Heart Association of Oregon, says the Health Kids & Education Initiative decided to wait for next year when there will likely be less political uncertainty and greater voter turnout. "With the craziness of the legislative session and the lack of a state budget, we are looking to 2018," Bodamer says.
She's not sure whether the coalition will shoot for the May or November ballot. "We are keeping all options open."