TAXES ON FOOD AND BEVERAGES ARE NOTHING NEW.
Taxes on particular foods have always been popular sources of revenue for local, state, and federal governments. What makes modern food and beverage taxes unique is that, today, tax proponents no longer cite revenue as their key motivation for proposing these taxes.
Instead, food and beverage tax proponents now promise health benefits.
“Vote for a tax on soda and see a decline in consumption
of unhealthy foods.”
“Tax these products and fix obesity.”
“A sugar-sweetened beverage tax will mean more money
for health and wellness programs.”
Some believe these taxes work—that they make us thinner, fitter, and healthier overall. But there is another side to this story.
THE TRUTH ABOUT BEVERAGE TAXES takes an in-depth look at modern beverage taxes, the motives behind them, and their effects on local businesses and communities.
The story begins in Berkeley, Calif., where voters only recently enacted Measure D, a penny per-ounce tax on the distribution of beverages containing sugar. Interviews with Berkeley residents and business owners show that rather than making a community healthier, these poorly-executed taxes can impose unforeseen burdens on businesses while disproportionately impacting the spending power of lower-income residents.
From Berkeley, the viewer is taken to Mexico where a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages has been on the books for more than a year.
In that year, has obesity been reduced? Are storeowners adapting to the higher costs?
Is the government spending the additional tax revenue on programs that promote health education and recreation?
The Truth About Beverage Taxes provides answers to these questions and others.