Americans have become accustomed to seeing their tax dollars diverted away from promised programs and projects, but this problem isn’t unique to the United States. This week The Guardian reported that the British government is already planning to siphon off proceeds from its beverage tax from the intended purpose to fill a budget gap. And this is happening before the tax has even gone into effect.
According to an article from The Guardian, “Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s [Local Government Association] community wellbeing board, said she had ‘grave concerns the government is hijacking this money to plug funding shortages elsewhere.’’
The tax, which The Guardian reports is expected to be bring in less revenue than originally projected, is supposed to fund children’s sports and healthy eating programs. But facing a budget shortfall, the Department of Education has announced that “£315m from the sugar tax will now be diverted in 2018-19 to addressing school funding shortages, leaving just £100m to fund the original objectives,” according to The Guardian.
One of the many pitfalls of beverage taxes is that the money rarely goes where politicians promise it will. People know this, which is one of the reasons they oppose these taxes. In the United States taxes have been rejected more than 40 times since 2008. When will politicians learn what we already know? Beverage taxes never live up to their promises.