Filed Under: Fat Taxes Soft Drinks

Taking the Fizz Out of Soft Drink Taxes

By now you’re probably well versed in why soft drink taxes won’t work. (If not, read this.) It’s a realization that’s making rounds in the political world, as we’ve just gotten word that the finance chair of the D.C. city council opposes the proposal here to levy a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, which means the bill will face a much tougher battle. Today we take to the pages of The Orange County Register to bust more soft drink tax myths, during a time when activists are pushing California to tax pop:

The latest line is that soda taxes are "voter-backed." One anti-soda activist group recently released a poll purportedly showing that Californians favor a soft-drink tax. But what it really shows is how pollsters can skew public opinion by telling people it's a "small tax on sodas and other sweetened beverages" for "raising funds for childhood obesity prevention" instead what it really is – a large tax to satisfy government's craving for money.

Tax revenue is fungible. There's no guarantee that money raised from a tax on soft drinks won't be funneled somewhere else. In New York, for example, the Service Employees International Union is backing a soda tax campaign, knowing that a tax can help the union keep its pensions funded.

And consider that the money from a 1992 Arkansas soda tax was supposed to go into the state's Medicaid program, but was diverted into the general fund. Given California's budget woes, we can expect nothing different.

Read the whole piece here.

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