Yesterday in Rhode Island, a coalition of concerned Rhode Island citizens, families, businesses and community organizations spoke out against new taxes on beverages in their state.  Rhode Islanders Against the Beverage Tax formally launched its mission today to defeat House Bill 5432, which would impose a 1-cent per ounce tax on every non-diet soft drink sold in Rhode Island.

The Coalition’s overarching message is simple:  There could not be a worse time to ask Rhode Island consumers to pay more for their groceries – especially considering the state’s rising costs and its 11.5 percent unemployment rate.  The Rhode Islanders Against the Beverage Tax coalition is asking lawmakers to stand up for families and oppose new, discriminatory taxes.

The legislator who introduced the bill claims the tax will help clear up the state’s budget and slim down its residents.  When we hear about legislation that would add a discriminatory tax on beverages, we want to be sure to let our readers know why it’s not right to single out our products. 

First of all, people can make their own decisions on what’s best for their families.  They don’t want government telling them what to eat or drink by taxing common grocery items like beverages.  Hard-working families are holding their own in this challenging economy, but they can’t afford higher prices at the grocery store. A new, discriminatory tax on certain beverages would squeeze low- and middle-class family budgets and hurt the most those who can least afford it. 

And we know that taxes don’t make people healthy.  We’ve blogged before to let our readers know that diet and exercise do that.  Obesity is a serious and complex problem that requires comprehensive solutions.  It cannot be solved by overly simplistic approaches that single out particular foods or beverages. Education about diet and exercise is the most effective way to help people lead a healthy, balanced and active lifestyle.

Reducing the deficit in Rhode Island is important, but reaching into Rhode Islanders’ grocery carts and placing the burden on the backs of hard-working families is not the right way to handle it.  To find out more, or to join the coalition, visit