Grocery taxes are often disguised as a distributor tax, but Lawrence J. McQuillan, a fellow and director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute, says the truth is the “burden of the tax (the tax’s incidence) will fall on grocery buyers because distributors will pass the soda tax on to grocers who, in turn, will pass the tax on to their retail customers by increasing the retail price of any product or products they choose in their store.”  And increased grocery prices mean that these regressive taxes impact lower-income families, who spend more of their hard-earned paychecks to feed their families, most.

In his article for The Beacon, McQuillan states that in Alameda County, where the city of Oakland is attempting to pass a tax on beverage distributors, the court reinforced that, “it’s obvious that grocery consumers will pay for the tax.”

McQuillan goes on to conclude that despite the claims of many tax proponents, “the truth is that the soda tax is a discriminatory tax that unjustly harms lower-income and minority families most by increasing grocery bills. The soda tax is socially unjust and discriminatory.”

No matter how you spin it, we just can’t tax our way to better health. Instead, these taxes harm consumers and businesses who can least afford them.

To learn more about why taxes don’t make people healthier, visit