Taxing Sugar? What a Joke!

Recently a state representative sent me an email message titled "A request for feedback".. sigh.. these folks just never learn do they? Here is the way that he ended his note:
The tax to which I am referring is described in Senate Bill 567. The legislation proposes a tax on sugar drinks such as soda pop or soft drinks and fruit or vegetable beverages containing 10% or less natural fruit or vegetable juice. The tax would be equal to one cent (1¢) per teaspoon of sugar contained in the drink or approximately ten cents (10¢) on a 12 ounce can or bottle of soda. It would be levied much like the gallonage tax placed on liquor, that is, the tax would be placed on the product at the distributor – before the beverage is forwarded to the retailer. It is projected to raise approximately $90 million a year, which would be a significant step toward meeting the shortfall.

I would appreciate your constructive feedback. If a tax on soda is not palpable, then what alternatives do you suggest? What other sources of revenue are you willing to support?
Sigh again.. asking somebody like me to bless a new tax.. he certainly does not know me. Here is the way that I responded:
Thank you for inviting me to provide feedback on this issue. I do not support hiking taxes at all and especially taxing sugar products. I suggest that you take a look at the salary and compensation structure for state employees/representatives and make cuts there. This Bureau of Labor Statistics comparison indicates that government on average pays more than the private sector for similar jobs ($40k/yearly more on average for health, pension and other benefits). It is time for legislators to get serious about cutting these kinds of expenses and bringing them in line with the private sector.
Seems that once upon a time in America folks revolted because of a tax on tea - maybe we need a new "Sugar Party" to protest this tax.. anybody interested?

And I am interested in what you think. Does anyone support this kind of taxation?


  1. Right on, Bob.

    These guys are always anxious to get in our pockets and don't seem to "get it" that they are a significant part of the problem trying to rob us to come up with a solution.

  2. I am not sure what I think about the sugar tzx, Bob. While I have no problem with taxes, per se, actions like this only further complicate what is already a way-to-complex tax code.

    To offer a contrarian position, though, much of my taxes today goes to pay for medicare and medicaid, and I have seen many studies that illustrate that obesity is a significant contributor to healthcare expenses. Some states have called this soda pop tax the "obesity tax". Again, still not sure where I stand on this.

  3. I've always said they should tax junk food if they are going to tax alcohol and cigarettes. I'd like to see a more specific tax on high fructose corn syrup and other bad forms of sugar and have them leave pure cane sugar alone.

    I always thought government jobs paid more because they actually keep up with cost of living increases while the private sector does not.

  4. I'm not opposed to taxes per se. I like to drive on the roads and have the police and other protections they provide. I even support having my taxes used to assure health care for poor children. But I'm against taxes to modify behavior. Gambling taxes don't slow down gamblers, and government entities just become addicted to them. The same goes for sugar.

  5. Funny. We have no problem taxing the heck out of alcohol and cigarettes. "Let the smokers pay for it" seems to be a pretty popular sentiment (and no I don't smoke cigarettes).

    Everyone should watch Food, Inc. Great film. One thing it shows us is why our trash food is so cheap. It's subsidized like crazy. A tax on sweet drinks (I agree with Mike,- not sugar per se but HFC, too) actually is not a bad idea. It would produce revenue that we could use for better things and hopefully it would discourage people from drinking 2 liters of Mountain Dew a day.

  6. The government is taxing CHILDREN now?? I would certainly aid my kids if they chose to hold a Sugar Party in the Boston Harbor. I could dress like the KoolAid man.

    In all seriousness, isn't sugar and corn the most subsidized crops by the US government? Seems like they are just re-cooping that on the other end. Why don't they just stop subsidizing these crops?

  7. Thank you Bob, for responding to well!!

  8. I'm not sure how I feel about the possibility of these kind of tax. But I'm all for a Sugar Party where we dump a bunch of sugar in a body of water! How about the wide, wide Missouri?


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