If you’re a frequent reader of Sip & Savor, then you’ve read a number of blog posts about soda taxes. So you likely know the facts: 1) they won’t have an impact on obesity, 2) they cost jobs and 3) people simply don’t support them. Yet, time and again, policymakers look to them as “the solution” – they say – to obesity, but it’s really more about filling a revenue gap.
Late last week, a state legislator in Illinois proposed a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. We think working together on real solutions makes more sense – and will have more impact – than discriminatory taxes on one category of products. We’re not alone in opposing these taxes. In fact, check out the reactions from two out of three people interviewed for this local Illinois news segment on KMOV-TV.
It doesn’t matter where these tax proposals pop up, the facts remain the same. If we want to get serious about obesity, it starts with education – not laws and regulation. Politicians should focus on what matters most – education, jobs and the economy – and leave the grocery shopping to us. After all, we can decide what to feed our families without the government’s help. The majority of politicians are listening to their constituents, who are repeatedly showing that they don’t support taxes and bans on common grocery items, like soft drinks. That’s why the public policy debate has moved on from taxes and bans and onto real solutions. That’s what our industry is all about.