Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Obesity Tax"

N.Y. state is proposing a tax on soft drinks as part of the upcoming budget. Whether it passes is another matter but it should stimulate a debate. There will be one argument that says these things should be taxed and another that will say soft drinks are benign and people need to think for themselves.

This is a tough one. Tobacco has been taxed for years with some success in reducing smoking rates. Will it work for soft drinks? I don't know. I think we need to look at a more complete approach to tackling obesity rather than a tax on soft drinks only. Generally, I don't like the idea of regulating or taxing behavior because I feel that people should be able to make their own decisions. In the end, unless the tax is $100 per can of pop I doubt it will make a real difference.


Robert said...

I don't know... but if soda is the number one source of sugar in American diet. And Americans spend $56 Billion annually on purchasing nondiet softdrinks. Together this makes a powerfull statement. Even if it were only 5 cents per purchase that would be a large amount in tax revenue.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Robert - it may not act as much of a deterrent, but it could provide a nice funding vehicle for Green Programs within the city.