Why The Repeal Matters

The beverage tax was passed in 1951 – over 70 years ago – as a temporary tax. Now it’s costing West Virginians $14 million annually.

This hasn’t just been on soda.

This tax affected hundreds of beverages, including sports drinks, iced teas, coffee drinks, most juice drinks, flavored waters, sparkling waters, tonic water, and even powdered lemonades and fountain drinks. Beverages were taxed whether they included sugar or not.

How the tax has impacted West Virginians:

Small business owners and consumers have been double-taxed on some of their favorite non-alcoholic beverages.

  • The beverage tax had to be paid by distributors, which includes restaurants and retailers.
  • This excise tax has been paid upfront and could cost a few thousand dollars a year, especially for outlets that sell fountain drinks.
  • The consumer then pays, on many products, a separate sales tax at their local store or restaurant when they purchase beverages.

The repeal of this beverage tax will help businesses and keep costs affordable for customers.

What has the beverage tax cost West Virginians?

  • For bottled soft drinks: 1 cent for each 16.9 fl oz or ½-liter
  • For syrups: 80 cents on each gallon or 84 cents on each 4 liters
  • For dry drink mixtures: 1 cent on each ounce or 28.35 grams
  • TOTAL: $14 million annually