Beverage taxes have been shown to be detrimental to small businesses and jobs, and a small business owner in West Virginia is warning about how such a tax would hurt his chain of supermarkets.


Ron Martin, who owns Bluefield, W. Va.-based Grant’s Supermarkets, said in an Op-Ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail that a beverage tax would “devastate the local small businesses that have served us for years.”


And Martin cautions that beverage taxes disproportionately harm those who can least afford to pay them. “One study showed that low-income families spend nearly twice as much upper-income families on the beverages that would be taxed,” he wrote.


Taxes also send shoppers across the border to escape the tax. And they purchase more than just beverages. “…Once these families are shopping out of state for their beverages, you can be sure they will do even more of their grocery shopping outside of West Virginia,” said Martin.


Beverage taxes may seem like an easy for governments to generate revenue, but the evidence is clear. Beverage taxes are lose-lose for consumers and local businesses.