EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — When it comes to candy, Washington will soon be a state of the taxed and taxed-nots.
Come June 1, the state will begin adding sales tax onto the price of gum and most but not all candy products.
If you've got a sweet tooth, you need a spreadsheet to figure out whether your favorite goodie is about to get more expensive.
For example, Three Musketeers will be taxed but Milky Way will not.
Starburst, Gummi Bears and M&Ms? Yes. Nestle's Crunch and Twizzlers? No.
How will you and retailers know which is which?
The state Department of Revenue has posted a list online of nearly 3,000 items that will be subject to tax ranging from coffee flavored hard candies to Wrigley's Winterfresh chewing gum. You'll find another 263 items that are not.
What's the difference? Basically, flour. If the candy you like is prepared with flour it will not be subject to sales tax.
Candy subject to the tax can be made with "sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners combined with chocolate, fruits, nuts, or other ingredients or flavorings and formed into bars, drops, or pieces," according to information from the Department of Revenue.
Any product that lists flour as an ingredient on the nutritional facts label is not taxable as candy, the agency points out. Flour is "made from grain such as wheat, rice, corn, rye, oats, and barley."
Why is the state taxing candy? With a $2.8 billion deficit, lawmakers decided to fill part of the hole and preserve funding for some public health, education and human service programs by raising taxes.
Majority Democrats approved a package of increases to bring in $800 million. The first of the increases, including a higher tax on cigarettes, took effect May 1.
Applying sales tax to candy and gum will generate about $30 million in new revenues for this budget. Candy makers in Washington can receive a tax credit of $1,000 for each worker retained for a calendar year to help offset a potential decline in sales as a result.
This isn't the end of higher taxes on consumer products.
Also starting June 1, sales tax will be applied to bottled water and the tax on barrels of mass-marketed beer will rise which could push the price of six-packs higher. On July 1, a tax on soda pop will kick in.