Beverage taxes are peddled by politicians promising everything from improved public health to revenue to fund programs. But the one thing they have in common is they never live up to their promises. National Review columnist Tyler Arnold explains what really happens in the wake of beverage taxes targeting small businesses and working families.
Earlier this year, a 1.5 cent-per-ounce beverage tax took effect in Philadelphia and the damaging fallout was immediate. Bob Dick, a senior policy analyst at the Commonwealth Foundation, told Arnold that the tax has already "depressed sales, increased prices, and destroyed jobs." Meanwhile, the tax is bringing in millions less than city officials promised.
Even with this cautionary tale, the Seattle City Council took it upon themselves to pass a tax that will make it even more expensive to live in a city that has grown unaffordable for many. Arnold said Seattle small business owners tried to warn City Council about the dire consequences of the tax. He says one described it as "a business killer," and another said, "I think after this tax, my store is going to be closed."
Regardless of what politicians promise - the evidence is clear. Beverage taxes fall hardest on families living paycheck to paycheck, harm small businesses which already operate on thin margins and cost good-paying jobs.