Over the last few years, American families have felt the impact of the economic downturn. This latest recession not only rocked the global economy, eliminated hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributed to failures in the financial industry, but it created everyday hardships for Americans in every corner of this country as they’ve struggled to meet mortgage payments, feed their families and even save for college educations. These struggles are not yet over, not for the average American nor for state legislators as they assess their budget deficits and look for ways to cut spending and increase revenues. Unfortunately, some legislators are mistakenly turning to taxes on foods and beverages, easy targets for cash-strapped lawmakers. But whom are they hurting most at a time when they need it least? That’s right, their constituents.
New Yorkers have made it clear on more than one occasion that they aren’t going to put up with a soda tax. They don’t want it—and they don’t believe that it’s a genuine attempt at addressing the issue of obesity, regardless of how some lawmakers try to frame the debate. As we wrote on Monday, taxes don’t make people healthier—diet and exercise do that. Focusing too narrowly on one item in the grocery cart as a means to solve such a complex problem is ineffective. And hiding behind the guise of promoting healthy living is a disingenuous effort at addressing the problem.
See similar sentiments reported in the Utica Observer-Dispatch earlier this week that highlight a local businessman in the area:
Bill Chanatry, owner of Chanatry’s Supermarkets Inc., said he thinks Paterson’s plan is just a “money grab” and not really about combating obesity. Chanatry also said he is worried that the soda tax is just the first step to taxes on other unhealthy items such as bacon and sausage.
"It’s an intrusion into our lives,” Chanatry said. “Today, it’s soda. What’s tomorrow?"
Like Chanatry, we wonder what’s next? Once government reaches in to the grocery cart, it’s a slippery slope.