November 2 2011

More Evidence that Soda Taxes Don't Work

Julie Gunlock

A new study out by the non-partisan Tax Foundation provides more evidence that soda taxes do nothing to reduce obesity.  Among the reports findings:

  • 17 states tax candy at a higher rate than other groceries, and four states collect an excise tax on soda.
  • In 2011, 14 states proposed new soda taxes (in some cases, raising product prices by as much as 264 percent). Two states proposed new candy taxes.
  • Between 1998 and 2010, soda consumption per capita fell by 16 percent.
  • Soda and candy taxes do not necessarily decrease caloric intake. One recent study finds that when adolescents switch away from soda due to price increases, the drop in calories is offset by an increase in calories consumed in other food and drink.
  • Definitional problems plague the enforcement of and compliance with special taxes on candy and soda. For example, under many tax laws, a product with flour would be treated as food while a similar product without flour would be considered candy.
  • Excise taxes on candy and soda fall on all individuals who consume the products, even those who do so moderately.

This is just the latest in a string of studies that have shown that goverment actions to control what we consume are useless and gives more weight to the arguement that the asnwer to obesity isn't more government action, but less. 

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