Taxes on common beverages are highly unpopular with Americans and are almost always rejected because they are bad public policy. Below we break down five of the reasons people consistently oppose these taxes.

They are regressive. Taxes on grocery items are among the most regressive taxes that could be imposed – meaning that low-income families would be forced to spend a larger portion of their hard-earned money to pay for the tax, while more affluent people would not have to shoulder as much of the burden. They raise grocery bills. Taxes on beverages that families shop for regularly increase grocery prices on everyone. This hits people on fixed incomes like seniors and low income families particularly hard. They are discriminatory. Targeting one set of products for special taxation is unfair. Taxes are also a slippery slopeanything that politicians dislike or have an issue with will become a new target for a tax or a ban. They harm small businesses. Small businesses, which are the anchors of their communities, operate on thin margins and many of them depend in large part on beverage sales for their livelihoods. They cannot afford the loss of sales that would result from a discriminatory tax. They don’t make people healthier. Taxes on common grocery items don’t improve public health. Arkansas and West Virginia, places with longstanding beverage taxes, consistently rank as two of the most obese states in the nation. And federal data from the CDC shows that there is no connection between beverages and rising rates of obesity or obesity-related diseases like diabetes. The obesity rate in America went up steadily (24 percent) from 2000-2014 at the same time calories in the American diet from soda went down 39 percent.