Politicians proposing taxes on common grocery items must consider who will be harmed the most by higher prices. A University of Colorado student is speaking up to remind Boulder, Colo., leaders that he and his fellow students simply cannot afford a proposed tax on beverages on their student budgets.
In a letter to the editor published in the Boulder Daily Camera, Matthew Smith wrote, “I can say with full confidence that this measure will have a heavy impact on CU's student body. A substantial amount of college students' money is spent towards food and drink. This tax would place a heavy burden on our wallets.”
Students and other people living on tight budgets like working families and the elderly take the biggest hit from food and beverage taxes. That’s because they are forced to spend a larger proportion of their limited incomes on the added cost.
As Smith points out, Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke out against a similar tax in Philadelphia because of the impact it will have on people struggling the most. "A tax on soda and juice drinks would disproportionately increase taxes on low-income families in Philadelphia," said Sanders.
These taxes are often sold as a way to make people healthier, but at the end of the day they are nothing more than a thinly-veiled money grab by politicians.
“Taxes do not make people healthy, lifestyle choices do,” says Smith. “Boulder is one of the healthiest cities in the United States. Let's shift our focus on issues that are actually relevant.”
Politicians may see dollar signs when they think of beverage taxes, but they must remember who will be paying the highest price.