At Sip & Savor, we’ve spent a lot of time blogging about discriminatory taxes on our industry’s products. As you’ve probably read, there’s a lot going on out there in the states, and in a few cities, as policymakers seek to fill budget gaps and some public health activists work to advance their own agenda.
Today, we thought it was a perfect time to share some timely news coverage with you from a few media outlets in places where beverage taxes have been – and perhaps still are – on the table:
• Yesterday, the Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore City Council Members presented an alternate revenue plan to fill the city’s budget gap, setting a way forward that does not include Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s proposed 4-cent beverage container tax.
• “D.C. soda tax likely dead,” at least that’s the headline on “The Breaking News Blog” on the Washington Post as of just before 4:00 p.m. ET today. According to this post, “a majority” of District City Council members are opposed to Council Member Mary Cheh’s idea to tax sugar-sweetened beverages at a penny per ounce and Council Chair Vincent Gray is asking for other possible ways to fund the Healthy Schools Act.
• New York Gov. David Paterson proposed a beverage tax earlier this year, for the second year in a row, as a way to fill the state’s budget gap. Although a tax was not included in either the Assembly or Senate versions of the budget, the New Yorkers Against Unfair Taxes coalition has been hard at work educating people about why a soda tax is the wrong approach. This afternoon, the Albany Times-Union “Capitol Confidential” blog reported that, while Gov. Paterson today suggested giving a state sales tax exemption to bottled water and diet sodas, the Senate Democrats just aren’t going for it.
• And in Philadelphia, the City Council convened once again today to pass a budget, which they did without inclusion of a soda tax. Mayor Nutter held a press conference shortly thereafter, announcing $20 million in budget cuts. You can read some reactions from members of the City Council on Philly.com.
We hope that policymakers in these cities and states truly follow through and do the right thing for their constituents. After all, the last thing anyone needs right now are any more taxes, especially on items in their grocery carts.