Taxes on common beverages won’t make people healthier, but they will make them poorer. In an editorial entitled, “Education better than taxes in efforts to drive down obesity,” The Oklahoman editorial board calls soda taxes a “gimmick” and notes that they raise grocery bills without improving public health.
The editorial board highlights the recent implementation of a soda tax of 1.5 cents per ounce in Philadelphia to illustrate how quickly these taxes add up. “A receipt posted to one person's Facebook page showed more than $3 in tax added to the cost of a 12-pack of Propel, an energy drink with a sticker price of $5.99,” said the editorial.
Instead of imposing regressive taxes, government should work together with industry to help educate people about how to moderate their calories and achieve a balanced lifestyle says the editorial board. And a great example of this, it says, is Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett’s partnership with the Oklahoma Beverage Association and the Oklahoma Grocers Association on Balance Calories Oklahoma.
As the editorial board noted, “Mayor Mick Cornett has led initiatives aimed at producing a healthier population, but he's not a fan of trying to force those changes through gimmicks such as soda taxes.”
That’s because, simply put, you can’t tax your way to better health. Instead, when we work together we get farther faster. To learn more about the beverage industry’s efforts to cut sugar from beverages in the American diet, visit www.balanceus.org.