Soda taxes: Pitched as a solution, they only cause problems

Washington Examiner
August 16, 2017

Soda tax advocates promise healthier communities and balanced budgets. So far neither promise has materialized anywhere the tax has been imposed, but that isn’t stopping more cities from using those dubious arguments to justify increasing taxes on their poorest citizens.

Cook County, Ill., is the latest to experiment with soda pop social engineering.

It’s not off to a rousing start. Implementation of the tax was postponed for a month by a lawsuit filed by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, contending the tax violates the state constitution by not uniformly taxing similar products. The tax affects all pre-packed sugary beverages such as soda, sports drinks, and juice products, but is not applied to prepared-to-order drinks such as tea, coffee, or mixed drinks.

Three major soda retailers have already been sued for charging consumers incorrectly. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture told Illinois officials that the tax violates federal law, which bars taxation of purchases made with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. With more than 1 million SNAP recipients, Illinois faces the loss of federal funding if it doesn’t make changes to satisfy the USDA.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 6:34 am

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