Already a member? Login. If not, please register.

  • Consumer Choice
  • Taxes
  • Health
  • Join Us
View Blog
  • New Illinois Soda Tax Won’t Make a Dent in Obesity

    Today’s The Southern Editorial calls for the disposing of the potential soda-tax plan for Illinois, which simply serves as an ill-fitting bandaid for "a state with a long-standing and severe problem of overspending." 

    Recognizing the seriousness of the widespread national obesity problem, “…one with an increasing total of preventable deaths and a medical price tag that may someday surpass our ability to pay. Obviously, something must be done about the public health crisis of obesity. But it should not include…misguided legislation."

    The Southern points out a key flaw in the new legislation: "By itself, the new tax won’t make a significant dent in obesity. Sugar-sweetened beverages are not the only factor in excessive weight, just the newest target on a nutritional shooting range littered with earlier target – fast foods, alcoholic beverages, fried foods, candy, fatty foods, foods that are high in carbohydrates and just plain junk food."

    Indeed, we wholehearted echo the editorial’s common sense conclusion “…it is not the function of state government to police our appetites and place unreasonable burdens on the few frills that are within the reach of average working men and women.” 

    Read more from the Voice of The Southern: Time to dispose soft-drink tax plan here.

  • Warning Labels Won’t Solve Anything

    Today’s Monterey Herald Editorial exposes the common sense truth behind why slapping a warning label on thousands of sugar-sweetened products across California (here’s a complete list) isn't the silver bullet to health awareness and improvement. As the Herald astutely notes, "Legislators can easily fixate on passing new laws. Putting another law on the books isn't always the best solution. A warning label on sweet drinks won't solve the problem. Education and better public awareness on many fronts might.”

    We agree that education and public awareness is the key to improving public health, however, the issue with this measure is that it will not change consumer behavior as a result. The Herald also notes, "Childhood obesity is an issue far more complicated than slapping warning labels on soda cans. Obesity stems from a wide variety of issues — from diet to exercise as well as other lifestyle choices."

    In fact, we couldn't have said it better ourselves - “…instead of relying on simple solutions like warning labels, our elected officials would be better off working with educators, non-profits and even large food and beverage corporations to raise awareness of healthy practices — not just diet choices, but exercise as well.” 

    Read more from The Monterey County Herald here.

  • Illinois Soda Tax Bill Stalled In Committee

    Yesterday, an Illinois Senate committee heard testimony on a bill that would impose a one-cent-per-ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

    Opponents of the legislation cited numerous economic ramifications of the bill.  For example, residents would travel to neighboring states to purchase beverages at a cheaper price, hurting local small businesses. This could lead to job loss in addition to additional burdens on struggling families.

    Here’s what many people probably don’t know about the proposal: this sugary beverage tax wouldn’t apply only to soda. It would also impose additional costs on sports drinks, juices, and some coffees and teas.

    Proponents of the legislation said the potential price hike would dissuade consumers from purchasing the drinks, possibly leading to a decrease in the obesity rate. However, a recent study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation casts serious doubt on the claim that soda taxes reduce obesity. If anything, it just encourages consumers to seek their calories elsewhere.

    Obesity is serious medical condition that deserves a comprehensive public policy response, and while a soda tax is an appealing option for some legislators, it has been shown to have no significant impact on obesity.

    The soda tax bill is currently stalled in the Illinois legislature. Let’s hope the lawmakers soon figure out what consumers already know: if we want to get serious about obesity, we need to start with education about moderation and exercise, not with laws and regulations. 

    (Photo by Justin Brockie)

Sign Up For Updates