On occasion, we at Sip & Savor have shared our view on beverage tax proposals. While a number of failed proposals that targeted beverages were offered in 2010, the concept is getting very little traction this year as lawmakers, media and the general public are rejecting it.
After the Texas Senate Finance Committee hearing yesterday, we wanted to address one of the bills being discussed that is sponsored by State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. It would levy a discriminatory tax on certain beverages, like soft drinks, juice drinks, teas and sports drinks.
Not surprisingly, there is broad-based opposition to this lawmaker’s proposal. Texans know that they are able to make their own decisions on what’s best for their families. They don’t want government telling them what to eat or drink by taxing common grocery items like beverages.
Hard-working families in Texas and across the country are holding their own in this challenging economy, but they can’t afford higher prices at the grocery store. A new, discriminatory tax on certain beverages would squeeze low- and middle-class family budgets and hurt the most those who can least afford it.
Sen. Lucio has said that a tax on soft drinks will help improve public health in Texas, but we all know that taxes don’t make people healthy. Diet and exercise do that. Obesity is a very serious and complex problem that requires comprehensive solutions. It cannot be solved by simplistic approaches that single out particular foods or beverages. Education about diet and exercise is the most effective way to help people lead a healthy, balanced and active lifestyle.
And we agree - balancing the budget in Texas is important, but adding to the burden of hard-working families is not the right approach.