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Soda Tax in Colorado: Good for Nothing or Good for Everyone?

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Should a soda tax in Colorado be repealed because it's unfair to working families?

Things are bubbling over in Colorado’s capital today as lawmakers are debating two proposals regarding soda. The first would repeal sales taxes on carbonated beverages, saving residents more than $12 million in 2012. The second would add a 5-cent deposit to glass and plastic bottles.

The latter seems like a no-brainer, even though apparently the Colorado Beverage Association is opposed to it. But if people will be more likely to recycle (and less likely to litter) because of financial incentives, then it seems like a state that prides itself on being green would leap at the opportunity.

The former also seems like a no-brainer why in the world would a tax on soda be repealed? Soft drinks had been tax-free until 2010, but now a Republican lawmaker is arguing the tax is unfair to working families. Since Colorado’s finances aren’t exactly worth celebrating at the moment, is a tax on a non-essential, non-healthy item really so far-fetched? Besides, the state that was once the leader in the country for low BMI is watching the obesity rate rise among its citizens.

Rep. David Balmer of Centennial said, “The tax is falling on families all across Colorado, and I don’t believe the Legislature should be singling out certain beverages and taxing them.”

He went on to say that diet sodas are healthier than some juices and sports drinks.

An expert from Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity argues, however, that soda taxes reduce consumption while raising awareness and money for health education, although other studies conclude that small taxes do little to reduce soft drink consumption or prevent childhood obesity.

I’d argue, however, that even if the tax does little, it’s better than nothing. Nobody needs soda, and certainly not children. If the tax ends up acting as a deterrent and people make better choices as a result, then what is up for debate, exactly?

Do you think the soda tax should be repealed?

Image: Wikipedia

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