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Proposed sugar tax could be sweet deal

April 22nd, 2010 · 4 Comments · Food in the news, Healthy eating

statecapA bill in the Kansas Legislature to levy a tax on sugary soft drinks sounds like a win-win deal to me. Not only would the proposal, Kansas Senate Bill 567, somewhat sweeten the state’s pitiful coffers up front, but the proposal also has the potential to reduce soft drink consumption a tad and thereby health-care costs over the long run.

The estimated $90 million benefit to the tax rolls isn’t enough to balance the budget, but imagine the potential savings over for Kansas residents suffering diabetes and obesity at least partly due to soft drinks. Liquid calories are notorious for their weight-adding facility (just Google “liquid calories”), and the latest news says added sugar also contributes to heart disease. (Here’s Time magazine’s report; lots of others exist.)

Opponents of the proposal, chiefly bottlers and their employees, plan an ad campaign and testified against the bill in the Ways and Means Committee (Associated Press). You can let committee members know those opponents do not represent you. The following senators are committee members:

Chairperson Jay Emler, Carolyn McGinn, John Vratil, Pat Apple, Ty Masterson, Vicki Schmidt, Jean Schodorf, Mark Taddiken, Ruth Teichman, Dwayne Umbarger, Laura Kelly, Kelly Kultala and Janis Lee. Their contact information is here. Let them know what you think!

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Kimberly Birch

    I believe that a better solution would be for the Government to stop subsidizing crops like corn and soy in the first place. Then you probably wouldn’t find high fructose corn syrup in just about every product on the market, for instance. It’s ridiculous to subsidize a product and then turn around and tax it.

    And while I agree that sugar and HFCS are not healthy substances, the Government has been historically wrong about what is healthy and what is not for a very long time. What will they decide is unhealthy and tax next? Meat? Healthy fats? Any fat at all? You can bet that they will get it wrong just about every time, so I would prefer that the Government simply stay out of our food choices.

  • Janet Majure

    Can’t disagree with you, Kimberly, about the corn subsidies, but the state can’t do much about that, so a tax on soft drinks isn’t a bad short-term idea, in my opinion. Meanwhile, the Ways & Means committee has adjourned without making any decision other than to adjourn.

  • Jennifer

    It sounds more like a lose-lose for taxpayers. Paying the federal government to give money to farmers for growing the crap in the first place, then paying the state to buy it. Stupid legislature, raise INCOME taxes already!!!

  • Janet Majure

    You’re so right, Jennifer, about the income taxes. I guess my point on the soda tax is that as long as the feds continue to use our money to subsidize this nasty stuff, a soda tax on the state level might be a good thing. Again, though, I agree an income tax is a better answer. Try telling that to our elected officials, though. Sigh…