Even as real-world evidence shows that beverage taxes do not make people healthier, tax proponents like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg continue to encourage discriminatory taxes as a silver bullet solution to complex challenges like obesity. And according to an opinion piece by Canadian journalist and Consumer Choice Center public relations director Yaël Ossowski, they also fail to acknowledge the harm these taxes cause to working families and small businesses.
Ossowski says “the actual impact [of these taxes] is to make already low-income people poorer,” in his op-ed published in the Washington Examiner. He goes on to point out that lower-income families pay the largest share of the beverage tax in Mexico.
The Mexican tax also resulted in stores being forced to close up shop reports Ossowski. “An economic survey of the effect of the tax found that more than 30,000 Mexican stores which sold sodas were forced to close in the first half of 2016,” he said. Which is why he calls the tax “a fierce killer of local shops and commerce.”
Ossowski goes on to note that, “Bloomberg Philanthropies has mostly avoided questions about the tax by paying for practically every study which claims its success, but none have underscored exactly what it means for obesity or the well-being of the overall population.”
There is no question that improving public health is an important goal and one that America’s beverage companies share. However, job-killing taxes that have never been shown to move the needle on public health are not the way to achieve this goal.
America’s beverage companies are demonstrating our commitment to supporting people’s efforts to live healthy and balanced lifestyles by offering more choices with less sugar and clear calorie information on our products. And we are working with community leaders in areas of the country with some of highest rates of obesity, such as the Mississippi Delta, to make a real and lasting difference. To learn more about our efforts visit www.balanceus.org.