Here at Sip & Savor, we've dedicated quite a bit of space to the topic of discriminatory taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages. And while there have been proposals at the federal, state and local levels, in reality, these taxes just aren't gaining momentum. But if you tuned in to CNBC's "Street Signs" yesterday, you may have gotten the idea that taxes like these are prevalent - and perhaps even that the public supports them. ABA President and CEO Susan Neely was on hand, however, to share the facts - which show otherwise. Americans just don’t want these taxes.
We first heard of a discriminatory tax on our industry’s products back in 2008, when it was slipped in by the Legislature but then repealed by the people of Maine by a 64-36 margin. Then in 2009, and again in 2010, New York Gov. David Paterson proposed a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The tax died both times, with strong opposition by New Yorkers. Earlier this year, health care reform passed in Congress without including a federal excise tax to help pay for it – an option that was being bantered about by some. Again, Americans cross the country voiced their opposition to taxing items in their grocery carts. And just last week, more than 60 percent of the voters in Washington state acted to repeal a tax on soda, bottled water, candy and other grocery items.
It seems the message is clear:
Americans believe government at all levels is too involved in their personal lives – and they definitely don’t want government telling them what to eat or drink by taxing common grocery items.