Cities and municipalities throughout the country are struggling with the ever increasing costs of the public employee salaries, pensions,and health benefits that they promised when times were good. It used to be that those cities could pass tax increases by claiming they were needed for police and firefighters, and of course, the children. But, people are wising up. Now what?
Enter, stage left, some in the health care industry, who firmly believe they are doing the right thing by advocating a tax on soda, but, who, in reality, are simply being used. Richmond, California is a classic example.
In May, Richmond’s City Council agreed to put a measure on the November ballot to charge businesses a penny for every ounce of [soda] they sell in the city. If it passes, it would be the first city tax of its kind in the nation and the first to be approved by voters.
…health advocates…are saying the measure could help address the nation’s obesity problem.
Let’s dissect that.
First, the tax is imposed upon the business that sells the soda, not the consumer. That penny per ounce translates into 72 cents for every six pack of soda sold. Do the folks in Richmond, who will be voting on this tax, really believe that their local grocery store or convenience mart will simply eat the tax?
And, second, is the money raised by this tax earmarked exclusively to fight obesity, childhood or otherwise?
…many [Richmond] City Council colleagues have promised to the use the revenue from the levy to fight childhood obesity, although there would be no such mandate to do so. [emphasis supplied]
Of course there is “no such mandate”. Just as your gasoline taxes no longer are dedicated to repairing your roads and bridges, your soda tax will suffer the same fate. It will go into “general revenue” to pay for promises to unions.
Hopefully the voters in Richmond, California will realize this.
And as to the health advocates that make it appear the proposed tax has something to do with health, they will move on to yet another gullible community with financial problems whose commissioners are desperately seeking both a new revenue source, and the useful idiots who will help them get that source.