To shore up the budget, Illinois policymakers are considering placing a penny-per-ounce tax on common grocery store items like juice drinks, soda, sports drinks and tea.
A recent editorial from The Jacksonville Journal-Courier urges policymakers to tell the truth about the proposed tax – it’s not about health, it’s all about raising revenue. But discriminatory taxes hurt hardworking families and local businesses. The consequences of such a tax would lead to “lost jobs coming from the likely decline in sales when consumers have to pay an additional 70 cents for a two-liter bottle or $1.44 for a 12 pack of drinks. Those lost jobs will trickle down to decreased revenue for everyone along the chain, from producers to convenience store workers.”
Not only can these taxes have devastating economic consequences, they are wildly unpopular. Citing a Harris Interactive/Healthday poll, the editorial board notes that 57 percent of individuals oppose taxes on soda and “a majority also disagreed with the idea such taxes would have any impact on obesity rates.”
“Taxes can’t enforce the need for self-moderation, no matter how much the government would like to say it has people’s best interests at heart.” Read the editorial in full here.