Adding to the list of states and localities that we’re seeing in financial dire straits, the District of Columbia City Council is proposing a new beverage tax. So, on top of the bag tax, sales tax, gas tax and other taxes D.C. residents already pay, they want to hit us on our groceries! That just doesn't sit right with us.
At a penny an ounce, D.C. City Council Member Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3, has proposed a tax on beverages like sodas, teas, juice drinks and sports drinks - that's $1.44 more per 12 pack! The new tax would drive up grocery prices in our neighborhood stores and corner markets.
While we appreciate that the District's budget deficit is a serious problem that should be dealt with appropriately, we know that singling out one item for additional taxation and putting the burden of the city's budget on the backs of hard-working Washingtonians is not the right way to balance the budget. Taxing ordinary grocery items like beverages has a huge impact on those who can least afford it - low- and middle-income families, elderly residents and those living on fixed incomes.
It's not the right time for new taxes. D.C. families are already struggling to make ends meet. Higher prices at the grocery store are the last thing they need. There could not be a worse time to ask hard-working D.C. families to pay more for their groceries.
The tax will drive customers away from local businesses into surrounding Virginia and Maryland suburbs to do their shopping, severely impacting grocery and convenience store owners and their employees. With an unemployment rate of nearly 11 percent, this is not the time to put even more jobs at risk.
A group called No D.C. Beverage Tax, a coalition of concerned citizens, businesses, unions and community organizations, has formed to oppose any new taxes on non-alcoholic beverages like sodas, teas, juice drinks and sports drinks. D.C. residents should join today and tell the D.C. City Council to reject any new tax on beverages. For more information, go to www.noDCbevtax.com.