Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended governments across the globe institute massive regressive taxes on sugary drinks, including soda, sports and energy drinks, and other fruit juices, in order to combat the rise of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Specifically, the WHO called for a tax of between 20 to 50 percent on these sugar-sweetened drinks.
Earlier this year, Philadelphia passed a so-called “soda tax” to fund an expansion of pre-Kindergarten education. In 2014, Berkeley, California instituted a 1 cent per ounce “soda tax”, while neighboring jurisdictions of Oakland and San Francisco have similar measures on their ballots this fall. Likewise, voters in Boulder, Colorado will determine whether to institute a 2 cents per ounce soda tax this fall.
National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has been highlighting the numerous flaws in these proposals. For starters, these policies are highly regressive – affecting poor citizens far more than affluent citizens. Additionally, using the tax code to modify behavior is ill-conceived. We will continue to monitor these efforts and help fight against such measures on behalf of taxpayers across the country.