Despite the fact that a new national poll shows Americans still aren’t buying into the idea of beverage taxes, some California lawmakers are looking at imposing a penny per ounce beverage tax on their hardworking constituents. We’d like to remind them that while taxes may fill a budget hole, they simply aren’t the solution to a complex problem like obesity. In fact, in an article in yesterday’s San Bernadino Sun, Eric Helland, professor of economics at Claremont McKenna College, stated:
"The evidence is weak these do anything basically on getting people to change their behavior with regard to calorie intake … They'll shift it to somewhere else."
You can read more from Professor Helland on this topic by reading his recent Regulation article, which was co-authored by Jonathan Klick of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
As we’ve said before, taxes do not make people healthier. A new tax on certain beverages will not teach people healthy lifestyles or change their behavior. Making smart, educated decisions about diet and exercise do that.