A tax on soda pop is sensible public policy

The increase in serving sizes of carbonated drinks has contributed to increased obesity in the US.  A “sin tax” similar to those imposed on alcohol and tobacco would generate additional revenue for state governments and reduce consumption of carbonated drinks.  A tax of five cents per twelve ounces of liquid regardless of container size would provide a negative incentive for large quantity purchases.  Production of carbonated drinks is largely a mechanized process, so this tax increase would have a small effect on jobs.  The proceeds of the tax should be allocated to physical education programs in public schools.

Further discussion of this issue can be found at Soda Taxes: Sin Taxes or Pigovian Taxes?.

Also, Soda tax comes to Oregon reports that:

“The Oregon Public Health Division is working on legislation to enact a tax on sweetened beverages.    This would include many sodas and other sweetened drinks like Gatorade and ice tea drinks.  The cost of a half-cent per ounce would equal to be about 6-cents per soda bottle.   This beverage tax would generate over $160 million  for the State of Oregon Government…The legislation which has the approval of Governor Kulongoski would be introduced in the 2011 Legislative Session.”

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3 Comments »

  1. I suppose a point would be reached eventually where it would be cheaper to make your own soda pop. Then the tax man would have to go after sugar. It seems rather arbitrary to tax soda when there are also many other unhealthy foods.

    On the positive side, at least the tax is a tax on consumption and not on productivity, like the income tax.

  2. IdahoSpud said

    I wonder if drinks with artificial sweeteners (i.e. not obesity-inducing) will be included…
    That will be the acid test whether this is just a tax or whether they are sincere in the desire to combat obesity-related health issues.

    • Scott said

      Drinks with artificial sweeteners shouldn’t be included.

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