We recently came across a letter to the editor in the Bennington Banner written by Robert Munch, owner of Vermont Sweetwater Bottling. Munch expressed his frustration with the sugar-sweetened beverage tax proposals in Vermont that seem to keep coming back despite the lack of support for such ideas.
The tax introduced this year originally proposed a 2¢ per-ounce excise tax on beverages, which would’ve raised prices on some beverages by 60 percent! Running into opposition, lawmakers whittled it down to a half-cent per-ounce tax. Unsatisfied, the Senate Finance Committee is considering applying the state’s sales tax to not only sugar-sweetened beverages but to candy as well.
All these changes demonstrate that soda tax proposals often have nothing to do with addressing the serious and complex issue of obesity.
As Munch writes:
“Apparently this sugar sweetened beverage tax is more about a revenue producing tax than an incentive to change our eating and drinking habits and diets.”
Well said. If we want to get serious about obesity, it starts with education – not taxes on common grocery items.
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