“State of the Mountain State,” West Virginians Oppose Soda Tax Expansion


Amanda Kieffer, Communications Associate at The Cardinal Institute for WV Policy

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Final Results from 2018 “State of the Mountain State Poll” Show 65 Percent of West Virginians Oppose a Soda Tax

Charleston, WV – Today the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy releases the last round of results from its 2018 “State of the Mountain State” poll, a survey of registered voters across West Virginia on a host of policy issues. The final installment tackles the controversial “soda tax,” an additional tax levied on sodas, drink syrups and powders, and other sweetened beverages.

The survey found that 65 percent of West Virginians oppose expanding the current state tax on soda, drink syrups and powders to include all sugar-sweetened beverages such as iced teas and juice to fund more government spending.

Previous releases from the survey showed that when examining the economic outlook in the Mountain State, many West Virginians felt that the future wasn’t very bright. While proposals to raise taxes have seen some support in the past, it is clear from this survey that an expansion of the soda tax is not viewed as a favorable solution by the majority of West Virginians.

While 13 percent of West Virginians believe that reforming the state’s tax code will have the most positive impact on the state’s economy, more believe the state should focus on improving opportunities for small businesses through grants and loans (16 percent) and even more believe that West Virginia’s K-12 education system would have the most positive impact on the economy (21 percent).

“The ‘soda tax’ is a policy that seems to come up every year as a way to finance more government expenditures, so we thought it would be a good idea to measure how West Virginians feel about an expansion of this particular tax,” said Garrett Ballengee, Executive Director of the Cardinal Institute. “Unsurprisingly, the expansion of the soda tax to include an increasing number of beverages is unpopular public policy and likely comes across as heavy-handed and paternalistic.”

Read the full press release here.