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Pop tax a bad idea

Published: Thu, July 23, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

Pop tax a bad idea


Our industry supports improving health care in America. We also support effective initiatives that will have a lasting and meaningful impact on the health of our country, rather than discriminatory taxes (“Tax soda to pay for health care, prevention;” July 9).

We all want to improve health care, but taxes don’t make anyone healthy. Education, exercise and balanced diets do that.

We are proud to be doing our part to reduce childhood obesity and teach healthy lifestyles. In 2006, America’s leading beverage companies teamed with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to implement national School Beverage Guidelines as part of a broader effort to teach children about the importance of a balanced diet and exercise. These guidelines remove full-calories soft drinks from all schools and provide for more lower-calorie, nutritious, smaller-portion beverage options. In just two years of a three-year implementation, beverage calories available in schools have already been cut by 58 percent and nearly 80 percent of schools under contract with bottlers are in compliance. We are delivering on our commitment.

The complexities of health care reform won’t be solved by a tax on soda pop. It’s simply the wrong public policy for such a complex problem.


Executive Director

Ohio Soft Drink Association



1GreenHomesOhio(11 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

So What you are telling us Ms. McConville is that as a society we would be better served by letting the big tobacco companies educate the public on healthy living and eliminating all tobacco taxes. I DON'T THINK SO!

Yes we should start a junk food tax on all prepackaged candy, chips, dips, ice creams, sodas and so called energy drinks that exceed healthy levels of sugars, fats, calories per container, and sodium. the tax should be a minimum of 25 cents per serving. Items made on the premeses would be exempt.

In addition we should also implement a recycling deposit of 10 cents per beverage bottle or can on ALL individual sized beverages and 25 cents per bottle on all larger sized beverage bottles and cans. Only milk and fruit juice drinks with 25% or higher content of fruit juice would be exempt. This would be on all glass, plastic and metal beverage bottles and cans.

And just so Ms. McConville doesn't feel singled out I suggest we raise the tobacco taxes by 10% over current levels; and the alcohol taxes by 25% over current levels. This money should be used for health and safety classes in K-12 and to fully fund the state portion of Medicaid.

If all of these were to be implemented at the same time the state of Ohio would see an increase of revenue sufficient to fully fund all of our libraries, schools and colleges thereby addressing Ms. McConville's concerns that our children have not been properly educated.

Any time that a new tax can serve double or even triple duty to serve the public it is our responsibility to our fellow Ohioans to seriously consider implement said taxes. In this case these taxes would benefit our schools and libraries, reduce roadside trash, encourage our children and ourselves to eat healthier, reduce Ohio's budget deficit, and minimize the impact on small businesses.

This sounds like a WIN, WIN solution to me!

While we are considering this we might also consider increasing the sales tax on fast food and prepared foods to 7% including food to go at all restaurants and gas stations. This money should be be split 50/50 between the general fund and used for Diabetes/Obesity education and treatment programs.

Another WIN WIN for Ohio.

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2aeparish(669 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Why shouldn't we tax pop?

I agree with what Greens said. Tax all of the junk food.

On its own, it might not help fund the health care system, but at least maybe it can help cut the costs of health care just a little bit. And in the mean time, welfare recipients would have to pay out of pocket for these novelties instead of swiping their Direction card and ultimately passing the buck onto us.

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3OldFashionedMama(77 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

aeparish-nutrition assistance (formerly called food stamps) is not considered to be welfare and is not included in a family's household income. The implementation of the Direction Card stopped people from selling or trading the paper stamps for booze, drugs, etc....Just a friendly FYI because I know those rumors still fly. The only thing you can buy with the Direction Card is food.
Now, as a person who currently relies on the nutrition assistance program and doesn't waste it on crap, I wholeheartedly agree that pop and chips and other basically non-food items should be excluded. Furthermore, people shouldn't be allowed to use their Direction Card at places that only sell junk food. When we lived in Sebring I would see people come into a local convenience store and load up on pop, chips, candy bars, etc...and I was surprised that the card could be used somewhere other than a grocery store. This, of course, brings up another enormous problem of some urban areas being food deserts and the only "grocery stores" are Dollar General. I'm generally against government involvement, but given our epidemics of obesity and preventable illnesses, they need to step in and address these problems. A "sin" tax is, in my opinion, a good place to start.

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4aeparish(669 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I meant welfare as in social programs in general, but I probably should have clarified, so thank you.

Just to add to what you said about selling the paper stamps -- the unfortunate thing is that people still manage to sell the funds that are on the card. I know that doesn't have anything to do with the story on the pop tax, but I was just pointing it out because it came up.

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5OldFashionedMama(77 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Now this is interesting! How do they sell the funds on the card? Do they let unauthorized people use the card in exchange for other stuff? Thinking about that more, there are some flaws with the system. It only requires you punch in a PIN, no signature, and grocery store clerks don't have to ask for identification. When we used the WIC program, you had to sign the checks and show the cashier a card with your signature on it and make sure they matched up. Seems like it wouldn't be that hard for the same rules to be implemented for Direction Card users...

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6aeparish(669 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Yep! That's exactly what they do. They lend the card and the pin number to whoever they are selling the funds to because, like you said, they don't need a signature or check IDs.

The bad thing is, as long as the card owner is present for the transaction, it wouldn't even make a difference if a signature or ID was required. Unfortunately, greedy people find a way around everything.

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7OldFashionedMama(77 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Good lord...if only they put that much effort into becoming better people and working to get OUT of the system, like I am.

Anyway, the pop tax OBVIOUSLY is not the only answer to health reform, but it is a good place to start.

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8cambridge(3188 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Soda is nothing more than a can of chemicals. There is no nutritional value and it only causes harm.

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9paulydel(1375 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Pop isn't the same stuff anymore that we used to drink when we were kids. Although I enjoyed it when I was a kid and young adult it just don't have the same taste. I agree that they need to keep the soda machines out of schools and although we are taxed enough I do like the so called sin taxes. Maybe it will help to make people think twice before spending their money on something of no value.

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10GreenHomesOhio(11 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Just an update I went to a friends house for dinner and stopped for a bottle of wine ( I don't drink alcohol myself) I was shocked at the low prices. I bought a bottle of California wine that sells in California for over $13 a bottle plus 8% sales tax for just $7.49 I know that California has a higher cost of doing business (rents, wages, etc.) But for a bottle of wine to cost half as much when it had to be trucked over two thousand miles seems silly. So let me adjust my proposed alcohol taxes.
1st. $.50 per container of beer, or $8.00 per keg.
2nd $2.00 per bottle of wine.
3rd $3.00 per bottle of spirits.

These would be in addition to any existing taxes.

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