Yesterday in Vermont, a state with a motto of “Freedom and Unity,” State Attorney General William Sorrell released a report on the Vermont Healthy Weight Initiative. The report noted a number of ways in which to help reduce obesity among Vermonters – among them a proposal to tax sugar-sweetened beverages at the rate of a penny per ounce.
We here at Sip & Savor know – and we’ve shared with our readers - that Americans simply don’t support these discriminatory taxes. In fact, Vermont’s New England neighbors in Maine overwhelmingly rejected a similar tax back in 2008. And Maine is not alone; similar tax proposals were proposed in at least 16 states this year. Washington was the only state to successfully pass a soda tax, and it was overwhelming repealed by voters earlier this month. Also, efforts by some lawmakers in Congress to pass a beverage tax as part of Health Care Reform fell short due to strong opposition by Americans across the country. The Governor of New York proposed a tax on certain beverages each of the last two years. Both times the proposals died in the legislature without reaching a vote because of strong opposition by New Yorkers.
Therefore it is no surprise that, in response to the AG’s announcement, a group of concerned citizens, businesses and community organizations that oppose new taxes on many grocery items came together to form the Stop the Vermont Soda Tax coalition. You can learn more about the coalition – what it is, its stance on discriminatory taxes such as the one proposed by State AG Sorrell – by visiting the website. And if you’re a Vermonter, make your voice heard by signing the petition.