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Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Tax on Your Soda? Senate Holds Hearing on “Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform”

Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on “Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform.”    Over a dozen experts provided ideas about how to pay for the comprehensive health reform proposed by President Obama.   As the Wall Street Journal reports, one idea included "a federal excise tax on soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas" - proposed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The Senate Finance Committee has posted the witness statements as well as a hearing video (Real Player required for video). 


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A new proposed tax is in process, and will have a far more negative than positive impact on the economy—a sugar tax. Sugar tax would be placed on food and beverages, which contains high sugar, soda, Gatorade and things of the same nature might include. Several stated have tried passing the said tax but it hasn’t been very popular, as the as the national habit for sugary drinks is well documented and attributed as playing a part in the national obesity rates. The idea of payday loans to feed the Pepsi habit isn't something people are thrilled about, and earlier attempts to pass similar measures haven't met with success. Nobody wants to need debt relief for a can of Coke thanks to a sugar tax.

Posted by: Jackson V. | May 19, 2009 2:35:05 AM

Childhood obesity is a serious and complex problem that requires thoughtful and comprehensive solutions. The same is true for improving health care in America.

It’s why America’s beverage industry stepped up three years ago to develop the national School Beverage Guidelines that cap calories, reduce portion sizes and remove full-calorie soft drinks from schools. The guidelines help teach our children the skills to balance calories that will last a lifetime. A tax won’t teach them anything.

Furthermore, people view it as an over-reach when the government uses the tax code to tell people what to eat or drink. They view it as just a money grab.

We need government to focus on meaningful programs that make a difference for health care. A soda tax is just the wrong public policy for such a complex problem.

Thank you,

Jessica Badger
American Beverage Association

Posted by: Jessica | May 21, 2009 3:34:30 PM

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