We spend a considerable amount of time educating our readers about the various tax proposals that we see popping up in a handful of states and municipalities across the country. While no excise taxes have gained any traction - including the proposal here in Washington, D.C. - we did want to to let you all know what did happen in D.C. City Council on Wednesday.
The Council roundly rejected a discriminatory excise tax on soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages. But, council members did vote to extend the existing 6 percent sales tax to a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages. While a sales tax applies to a wide array of consumer products, it’s still adding to the cost of groceries in a tough economy.
We are disappointed that council members would raise taxes on families at a time when District residents are struggling to make ends meet. Extending the sales tax to beverages is a regressive policy that has the greatest impact on those who can least afford it - low- and middle-income families, elderly residents and those living on fixed incomes.
The D.C. City Council should be tightening its belt – like their constituents are doing - instead of unfairly placing the burden of the District’s budget shortfall on the backs of hard-working residents.
If the Council can find money internally to fund a new trolley system, certainly it can find the money for the Healthy Schools initiative without having to raise taxes. What this policy comes down to is that it is the latest in a series of tactics that will further squeeze District families who are already struggling through a recession. There are better ways to balance the budget than to target one portion of the items in our grocery cart for additional taxation.