Earlier this week on CNBC's "Street Signs," host Erin Burnett interviewed ABA President and CEO Susan Neely about proposed taxes on our products.
The topic of taxation clearly wasn't a new one for Ms. Neely, who addressed the economic burden that these taxes would have on hard-working families. She also discussed how results of the recent elections are an indication of how most people view government as broken – mentioning that the voter rejection of soda tax proposals in places like Washington state and New York are indicative of the national mood. People do not want to pay a penny more for their grocery items, and certainly don’t need government telling them what to eat or drink.
But Ms. Burnett, who was clearly reading from a set of talking points pushed by some zealous tax advocates, pressed on – asking if the beverage industry is "killing us." And if that wasn’t extreme enough, she then likened our industry’s products to cocaine. The outrageous comparison is neither accurate nor fair, and as Ms. Neely said, Burnett’s premise doesn’t align with "how most of us think about" refreshing beverages. It shows just how out of control this zealousness to tax consumers more is getting.
Our industry recognizes the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Calorie balance and physical activity are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Government regulation and taxes are not.