Soda Tax in DC? Awesome!

Soda lovers of Awesome Washington D.C. may soon have to pay more for Soda 🙂 This week, D.C. council members approved a 6 percent sales tax on artificially and sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

Anything that makes us drink less soda, is good.  Why? My list is long, but I think this NYC Ad Campaign does a good job to sums it all up:

The measure, part of the 2011 budget plan, would add the tax on sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks, but not drinks containing milk, juice, coffee or tea. The tax is expected to raise approximately $7.92 million a year, to assist the city’s $300 to $400 million deficit.

Research has shown increasing the price of soda by 18 percent would result in a decrease in overall sales, leading to fewer calories a day for regular soda-drinkers.
The soda tax is currently in place in 33 states, with an average rate of 3 percent, although some states are currently considering increasing the rate.

The American Beverage Association, which is against soda taxes, believes such bills would be a “regressive and discriminatory tax that will not teach our children how to have a healthy lifestyle, and will have no meaningful impact on child behavior or public health.”

The final vote of the 2011 budget is scheduled for June, and then it will be sent to the mayor and Congress for approval.

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25 Responses to Soda Tax in DC? Awesome!

  1. I’m all for a 5-cent tax on soda and 10-cents on alcohol (single servings only, e.g. at a bar or convenience store). But the money HAS to go only to health projects and AA rehab.

  2. Nah, sounds like a typical nanny government in action, if you ask me! Moreover, they could care less if you drank sodas. In fact, just the opposite! They want you to drink more they can tax the sh** out of you! Montgomery County is just as bad!!

    • Elias Shams says:

      I really don’t care if the Gov want to tax us more or not. I have been living in the US since 85 when I got off the boat from Iran. I have lived in many places in the EU, Asia and the Middle East. Compare to all other governments I have experienced (even the ones in the EU), US government, by far has set up one of the best system in place. Not to mention the American people too. Given only 7% of American out of 300 mil have passport, they just don’t know how good they have it here how bad people have it outside of the border. If you see those people happy on TV, it is because they haven’t lived here in the US to be able to compare our system with theirs. That being said, I have no problem to pay more tax 🙂 Anything that gets us healthier, I am for it 🙂

  3. Mary Mihalik says:

    Absoloutely not. But then, I don’t drink a lot of soda, anyway. Wish they would also extend the tax to snack foods, too. VA actually taxes FRESH fruits and veggies but not soda and snacks, go figure. The tax will curb soda purchases for those that subsist on these sugary drinks, but then that is what a tax does – it does change consumer behavior (see the cigarette tax as a prime example). And, those that don’t care, will continue to drink a lot of soda and pay the tax. Tourists will not be dissuaded if they want a soda. But the, most tourists I see are toting water.

    • Elias Shams says:

      Did you watch the video in the article? if not, I urge you to watch it.

      As for the tax on fresh fruits and veggies in VA, you mean there is higher taxes on them?

  4. Mary Mihalik says:

    Oh, absolutely have seen the video, read the bill, the whole thing (being a local, how can I not? LOL). My point being, that there should be NO taxes on fresh fruit and veggies. Taxes (please see the numerous NBER studies) do promote/and or dissuade behaviors. The ‘tax’ the we all pay in higher health insurance premiums (if you’re lucky enough to be ‘accepted’ by an insurance company) is much greater than a tax on a poor behavior. I am not surprised at all at the lobbying and money the CPG firms are throwing behind fighting this bill. If paying a tax on soda hurts a family’s food budget that much – you shouldn’t be drinking that much dang soda! Please. Again, basic economics, if you want to drive positive behavior, tax the bad stuff.

    The tax revenue from the soda tax will be going towards healthy lunches for our kids.

    We all pay taxes of some sort or other based on our behaviors. Cigarette taxes, road tolls, you name it. So what if there’s a soda tax, I say do it! And, then extend it to the snacks. In the meantime, eliminate taxes on fresh fruits and veggies. Eat well, pay less taxes, pay lower health insurance premiums. healther adults, healthier workforce, less lost productive time for businesses.

  5. Bruce Majors says:

    Yet another reason to drive to Bethesda or Arlington to shop. Better parking, no charge for bags, and no soda tax.

  6. Mary Mihalik says:

    Actually, 33 other states – including MD and VA tax sugary beverage drinks. Not to mention the slew of states, including MD and VA tax alcohol and beer.

    Seriously, if you actually grocery shop – the last thing you want to do is extend the misery by driving around trying to avoid a sales tax on a single item! Especially with gas at just under $3/gallon. LOL

    Now, 1 cent per ounce, as is proposed by the DC bill, may be out of line with neighboring states. But that does not mean the taxing soda is bad – is HOW they’re going about taxing it. Like all things, it’s not the what, but the ‘how’ that gets in the way.

  7. Bruce Majors says:

    Thanks for telling me what I do. Lol. The misery is driving or parking in DC. The Ballston Harris Teeter or Whole Foods are much easier. (Though the new Shaw Safeway has a decent garage too.)

    Additionally some local consumer groups did studies in the 80s of pricing at Safeway and Giant in different neighborhoods and discovered that urban neighborhoods where people walk to the grocery have higher prices on staples. Because their customers are unable to drive to other stores and exert any competitive pressure. So everything may be cheaper in the ‘burbs.

    If people weren’t avoiding DC taxes then perhaps DC would not have such bidget problems and wouldn’t me raising parking fees and metro fares.

  8. Mary Mihalik says:

    Again, if you want to drive around to do your grocery shopping, more power to you. Working women, and heck, single women, will not and do not drive around for grocery shopping – it is a dreaded chore that we really don’t enjoy doing. Travel to MD and VA if that’s what you want – but you’re still going to pay a tax on soda.

    The economic and consumer fact still remains that taxing bad habits changes habits. Want a healtheir workforce? Lower health insurance premiums? Tax the stuff that is impacting those forces which impact everyone of us.

    Personally, I don’t drink enough soda to care. Even sent around a little ‘grandfather’ research to friends and family on the issue – none of them cared if soda was taxes. None of them said it would effect their behaviors. All of them thought it was a good idea (20 responses!). All of them said they don’t consider it a “staple”. Milk and juice are staples. Not soda.

  9. Bruce Majors says:

    Again I am impressed by your ability to speak for huge groups of people, after telling me what I do.

    The issue is of course the DC government’s killing the DC economy by a thousand cuts, a thousand forms of looting. The soda tax. The new recordation and transfer tax on coop apartments. Raising the transfer and recordation taxes on houses and condos. The grocery bag tax. Raising parking fees. Calling for a commuter tax. Seizing the real estate guarantee fund to spend in the general budget.

    All while building a new convention center and a baseball stadium but trying to cover up the lead water pipe/high lead level issue and leaving many schools in decay.

  10. Mary Mihalik says:

    Not telling you what to do. Just saying what others do. Those of us that live in a city (and I’ve Iived in Boston, Philly, and NYC – so I’m a bit familiar with cost of living in these areas and their taxes) – we live in cities because of the lifestyle it affords despite the cost. We choose not to live in rural or burbs.

    The fact still remains that DC has seen an increase in population: The area experienced a growth rate of 3 percent in the past two years, beating out Boston with 2 percent and New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore with 1 percent.

    Of course taxes are going to increase in a time of economic recession! No news there. Local areas have to in order to pay for the services they provide. The taxes you mention are similar to taxes in the cities in which I’ve lived. Hasn’t stopped me from living there. Will take it anyday to other areas.

    Just read through the Tyson’s re-development plan – given the exponential growth they predict, maybe you should consider selling and living there? Just a thought.

  11. Dan Light says:

    I won’t drink less soda I’ll just drink less soda in DC.

  12. Dan Light says:

    Taxes are never in anyone’s best interest.

    • Elias Shams says:

      What Dan?

      Guys, I have been living in the US since 85 when I got off the boat from Iran. I have lived in many places in the EU, Asia and the Middle East. Compare to all other governments I have experienced (even the ones in the EU), US government, by far has set up one of the best system in place for its citizens. Given only 7% of American out of 300 mil have passport, they just don’t know how good they have it here and how bad others have it outside of the border.

      Yes, there are a few flaws within our government, but wait till you try others.

      If you see people from other nations look happy on TV, it is because they haven’t lived here in the US to be able to compare our system with theirs.

      That being said, I have no problem to pay more tax Anything that gets us healthier, I am for it

  13. Mary Mihalik says:

    Taxes pay for:
    1. Roads
    2. Public schools
    3. Our Armed Forces
    4. Provide for your income safety net in retirement
    5. Provide for your healthcare in retirement
    6. Public transportation so you can drive your car in less traffic
    7. Clean up of toxic waste
    8. Court system
    9. Prison system
    10. Improved quality of living with Public Parks
    11. Improved quality of life and education with Public Libraries
    12. Print your money
    13. Fund R&D that leads to private sector growth – space program, NIH are just two examples that fueled private sector growth in technology and healthcare industries

    and the list goes on.

    Without taxes – we’d have anarchy. No private business acts in the public’s best interests. Public and private sectors provide completely different services. To say that taxes are never in anyone’s best interests is, well, just foolish and ill-informed.

  14. John Sexton says:

    Well said Elias. I watch and listen in horror at the prospect of VAT (Value Added Tax) being introduced here as it is in Ireland, where I hail from. If you think the cost of living is high now, just wait until a 21% “across the board” tax is slapped on the consumer. Give me a tax on obesity-inducing sugary drinks any day of the week instead of a painful 21% Value (?) Added Tax, that once introduced, will most likely never be removed.

  15. Bruce Majors says:

    Not drinking too much sugar makes you healthier. Paying taxes just gives the tax predator ruling class more funds to run destructive programs.

    I think it is particularly enlightening that right now we have a President bailing out banks with trillions of dollars, but he seems to have neglected to buy any equipment to contain oil spills or clean them up. And he had over a year to do it. And presumably one could have had such equipment manufactured at home, producing “green jobs.” And if you are going to outlaw drilling oil except miles off shore, 5,000 feet down, you would think you might make sure there was the equipment to handle disasters at those depths.

    Very similar to the DC government building a convention center and baseball stadium while leaving lead pipes in the municipal water system or allowing public schools to crumble and be full of asbestos.

    Of course, every failure is an opportunity — to ask for more taxes.

    I don’t think the argument that in Tehran you can be lynched for being a gay teen or shot in the head for protesting in the street really justifies American governments when they do lesser violations.

  16. Bruce Majors says:

    Mara you have totally drank the kool aid. You should really read something outside your parochial limits, something that doesn’t just affirm your received views. Public choice theory. Or go to Your view of how government works bears no relationship to reality and is basically derived from junior high school civics books. You can do better I am sure.

    Our streets are dirty and full of crime and potholes and congestions; our schools produce dropouts and illiterates; everything government does is inferior and disastrous. Only when it monopolizes provision of a service can it fool some of the people that only it could provide the service. Then you end up with things like government retirement schemes that were looted of all their funds long ago to pay for general budget items. You are like an old Soviet grandma standing in a bread line on Tuesday at the state grocery store who thinks only government could bake a loaf of bread and no alternative is possible.

  17. Mary Mihalik says:

    Well, apparently we have firmly entered the arenas of idealogues – not open to discussion of the pros and cons of a point. Why even post the comment?

    If you believe that America is “dirty and full of crime…dropouts and illierates…everything government does is inferior and disasterous” – well, I wish you well as you find Xanadu elsewhere in the world. Apparently we’re too dirty, stupid and inept here in the States for your liking.

  18. Mary Mihalik says:

    I will not drink ANY soda in the District. Taxes are usually levied on those who will use the services and benefit from that tax. Since I don’t live there I can never benefit from paying it. The wave of “sin taxes” in recent times now extends to soda. Who will benefit from a tax on soda? Besides the government (the DC board) I believe that those who don’t drink soda will benefit most. You might as well call it a toll for drinking soda because all it is a way to generate more revenue in the District. Poor DC residents. Getting fleeced by those they put in charge.

  19. Steve Spacek says:

    My consumption will stay the same–its the littering/dumpng of cans/plastic bottles that might level off.

  20. I dont think it will make people drink more healthy(as intended) it would just make them go to VA or MD to get their soft drink fix. Just like the grocery bag tax in DC or luggage fees at airports or increase in subway fare people do not like to pay extra taxes. For one they dont like the tax and secondly they dont like/or believe the tax will go to fund schools, road improvement, clean waters, etc (see the grocery bag tax money with only a small portion going to clean the water at the Anacostia River and funds for the tax being used for streetsweepers)

  21. Ron McGowan says:

    Why stop with sodas? Why not tax everything that the Marys believe are unhealthy or are not “beneficial”? What about pork? What about salt? What about certain cooking oils/grease? Rather than tax poor people with additional penalties because this is what they enjoy and can afford, why not find a way to further tax people who can afford it? Those of us who can afford it will, instead of paying the tax, go to Maryland and VA, where not only we can avoid the taxes but we can get free bags for our groceries. Sorry, but I think that this is another bad idea. Everything that the District and Metro are doing to fill the budget gaps will only hurt the people who can least afford them. We are such selfish people sometimes. Sorry Mary!

  22. tom says:

    The soda beverage tax obviously is a controversial idea not only that but flawed because diet soda does cause weight gain this ten cents tax on powered drinks is unlike the 5 cent deposit on bottles but other states like maine have expanded the deposit program further to include milk gallon containers I say raise the state deposit refund to 10 cents per container soda vitamin water beverages i would favor expanding bottle deposits to include the spring water bottles too at least the monies would be refundable

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