Should Massachusetts Tax Candy And Soda?

Are candy and soda food?

Yes, in Massachusetts, candy and soda are considered food and are exempt from the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax. But Gov. Deval Patrick wants to change that. He’s asking the Legislature to start taxing every bag of M&M’s and bottle of Pepsi you buy.

“Half of the people in the commonwealth are overweight or obese,” says Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith. “A third of our kids are overweight or obese. Those are pretty daunting statistics, so the idea of adjusting the price of things that we know are associated with [obesity] makes sense.”

Public Health Commissioner Lauren Smith says taxing soda will discourage consumption

Public Health Commissioner Lauren Smith says taxing soda will discourage consumption. (Martha Bebinger/WBUR)

Smith says taxing candy and soda would raise about $53 million a year for general state spending. A coalition known as Healthy People, Healthy Economy is working with Rep. Kay Khan, of Newton, on a bill that would put candy and soda tax revenue into the state’s prevention and wellness trust fund.

But will adding roughly a dime to the cost of a soda make kids reach for something healthier instead?

“A small tax will have a small impact, a larger tax will have a larger impact. I mean, there’s just no way around that,” says Lisa Powell, a public health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Powell says applying the sales tax to soda would cut consumption by 7 to 8 percent, based on what’s happened in 35 other states. She says that’s a small but significant decrease that might be undermined if the state taxes just soda, “because you’re going to have substitution from soda to fruit drinks that have a lot of sugar in them, energy drinks, sports drinks.”

Powell says her research shows that “black children are twice as likely to be heavy fruit drink consumers, and white youth are twice as likely than their black counterparts to be heavy soda consumers. So you’ll miss different groups … if you only tax certain types of drinks.”

“I don’t think the governor should be picking and choosing what people are drinking,” says David Arons, a lawyer from Sharon, who opposes any new taxes. “People should have a certain amount of discretion here and public education efforts would be much more effective than just taxing people if they’re buying a Diet Coke.”

Supporters of the tax say calling soda and candy food means the state is, in a small way, subsidizing an unhealthy option.

“Sugar in particular has led to obesity, which leads to diabetes, which can also lead or does lead in fact to heart disease and stroke,” says Jack Manning, the chairman and CEO at Boston Capital and one of a growing number of employers who support taxing candy and soda.

Manning says sick employees aren’t as happy or as productive as healthy workers and they boost the cost of everyone’s health insurance. “So from all points of view, businesses are better off if there is a tax because we want our employees to be healthy.”

The same proposal from Patrick died in the Legislature last session and it’s not clear if the prospects are any better now.

“The advocates have been loud and vocal on taking the issue up and trying to put it at the forefront of our policy here,” says Jeffrey Sanchez, House chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health. “The challenge is all the other revenue proposals that are before us as well.”

Meaning Patrick’s proposal to raise the income tax and adjust other taxes.

The idea of charging more for foods that aren’t healthy is getting a lot of attention around the country these days. Public health leaders say the connection between higher cigarette taxes and lower rates of smoking makes the case.

Readers, please weigh in the comments section below. Where do you stand? Should candy and soda be taxed and why?

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  • Disgusted

    Commuting and stress are also factors in obesity, will you tax employers that make their employees commute? or how about will you tax them for stress put on employees in a hostile work environment? as well as sleep deprivation. I guess not lets just go after sugary treats as the main cause instead!!

  • Cale

    So the federal government subsidizes corn production (with our tax dollars) so they can produce high fructose corn syrup dirt cheap, then the state charges a tax on products with HFCS in them. Great fucking idea. These people have their heads so far up their asses, meanwhile keeping us consumers bent over with no lube.

  • Chris

    Education not legislation. MA start applying that to all your “problems.”

  • Jordsan

    The way the question is phrased makes many people balk at it. Should Massachusetts tax candy and soda? WBUR should have phrased it: Should Massachusetts maintain the special sales tax exempt status of candy and soda? I understand WBUR wants to draw attention to the article its website, engage people and fuel the fire. But it doesn’t help many people understand the root issue, and it gives the wrong impression that it is a new tax when in reality is just the good old sales tax which, wrongfully or not, candy and soda was exempt from.

  • geno

    I drink 0 calorie colas or root beer (no caffeine) cuz i need flavor. How are diet drinks bad for you? And we have to argue not to tax? Government will wolf that down and not even taste it. At least the candy is enjoyed.

  • nh

    I took a group of teens to Australia last summer for one month, and we all had sticker shock at the prices there. Each participant brought about $300 for the trip. We had healthy meals provided each day, but the kids were allowed to buy their own snacks. Did our teens still spend up to $5.00 on a bottle of soda? Yes, they did! Unfortunately, I don’t think taxing soda more will change kids’ buying habits. Healthy alternatives and education will hopefully make a difference, and maybe this tax will at least help kids cut back a little.

  • Money Source

    You have to love the political mindset asking themselves….”How can we squeeze more money out of the people? Of Course! Go after the children and we can say….(for their own good of course”! BRILLIANT!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LLH7SFRBBDZ54YLFVP6POB6XAI ANNA

    To answer the first question this article poses, no, candy and soda are not food. They do not provide any nutrients, only calories. Calories are a unit of energy, hence the term ‘empty calories’ for these items is completely accurate. My suggestion is this: Eliminate any item that does not provide an adequate threshold of nutrients for the caloric content from the list of acceptable items that can be purchased with an EBT (Food Stamp/SNAP) card. Decry this as unfair discrimination against SNAP recipients all you want. Like WIC, SNAP is supposed to be a supplemental nutrition assistance program, not a subsidy for the HFCS industry, which it is now. If you do not think the junk food industry relys on low income SNAP people for their $ you are wrong. It’s easy to run the numbers and determine that this is so. Taxing soda and candy will not address the issue, only provide more $ for the general fund. It is not the answer to our obesity epidemic.

  • anonymous

    just feel like posting sumthin

  • Alice3

    Tax non-food and dedicate the $$ to health care for the uninsured or underinsured.

  • Isobel

    There’s no controversy about soda and candy in the medical world: they are very very bad for people, like cigarettes. They lead to early death and earlier dysfunction, pain and depression. Wine and beer in moderation are in fact good for you, but we tax them because they can be easily abused and the social and medical costs of that are high. If we tax cigarettes, wine and beer, there’s no logic in saying we shouldn’t tax nutrition-free candy or high-fructose drinks. If some people are so deeply hooked that they can’t switch to dates and stevia, the tax will at least ensure that their ensuing health problems, costly to future taxpayers, don’t have to compete for treatment with major unpreventable health problems. I’m an ex-smoker who was helped out of a 30+-year habit by a steeply rising taxes on cigarettes. I could afford the rising taxes but the cost eventually made me think about what I was willing to spend more and more on. I’m much more energetic now, thanks to a tax, and facing greater (and happier) longevity.

  • jmsurprenant

    I fully support the tax on junk foods. It makes good sense. We should go further and also end the subsidy on corn products (corn syrup namely) which is the key ingredient in all these poisonous junk foods corporate america is selling us..

  • AB

    While I’m inclined to support a sugar tax, if implemented smartly, I’d rather see an end to all corn-related subsidies, and the shifting of that money to subsidies on healthy vegetables and fruit, at a federal level. Give that 5 or so years to settle out and then let’s see if more measures are necessary.

    If we do need a sugar tax, why not at the wholesale level, nationally? And lets un-approve the carcinogenic artificial sweeteners (or at least require they actually be proven safe) while we’re at it.

    • Isobel

      Outside the federal income tax, isn’t taxation a matter of state government? It would be great to have a national sugar tax, in my view, but as I recall the Constitution leaves such matters up to the states. (Not every state exempts food and clothes from the sales tax, for instance.)

  • sd

    let’s see: chips, mac&cheese, microwave meals, gushers, ice cream, frozen pizza, corn dogs..go ahead and tax candy/soda i’m pretty certain ppl will still be fat

  • sd

    Yes! Alcohol is taxed (kind of like the adult version of kid’s candy/soda indulgence). But seriously, if ppl want to buy that crap (candy/soda) then they should have to pay for it. Not sure that it will discourage ppl from buying it though but at least the govt can get some more revenue that way.

  • Jordsan

    I might dislike government and taxes as much as other people. But any economist can explain to the most ignorant person that making something tax exempt is one way of granting a subsidy. Size of government/liberties/freedom are orthogonal to the economic question: Should MA subsidize candy and soda? People get fixated on politics and ideology. Will it make kids want to reach for healthier food items? As many people point out kids might not care, but that doesn’t detract from the merits of the core issue. Can not think of a single downside to removing their sales tax exemption, except of people whining and complaining about it. The question in general is not about adding a new tax or removing an old one, is about moving the line between normally taxed items (like most everything sold) and specially exempt ones (like food and clothes). Are candy and soda so basic and necessary that deserve their special government tax exempt status?

  • http://twitter.com/SurvivalWire The Survival Wire

    Yes! You Communists should tax everything so even more people come to New Hampshire for shopping! Keep it up Deval, we need the business up here!

    • give me a break

      ppl are not going to flock to NH to buy a pack of M&Ms!

      • agamemnus

        Sure they would. M&Ms are pretty expensive.

  • Ellis Daniels

    Just another excuse to grab our money. Smith knows that taxing candy and soda will not decrease it’s use. People will just pony up the extra money and buy it anyway. Taxachusetts at it’s best.

  • rich4321

    Hey, bad food produces bad, smelly poops, time to tax poops!!!

  • Pathenry

    They don’t call us Taxachusetts for nothing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kana.taft Kana Taft

    What about sugar free tonic and candy? Where’s the excuse to add a tax to that?

    • Don_B1

      Food was made sales-tax-exempt to avoid the regressivity of a sales tax, particularly for low income people. But food was selected because adequate NUTRITION is necessary for life. Sugar-free tonic and candy are NOT anywhere near “nutritious” enough to contribute in any significant way to anyone’s daily nutrition requirement.

      • pat

        that’s just nonsense. NO MORE TAXES. I REPEAT: NO MORE TAXES. Keep your phony do-gooder hands OUT of my pockets, and mind your own business. We do not need or want anyone telling us how to live. Enough is enough…

  • Natalie

    Yes i support the proposal.even though i am a Coke Cola lover.I admit ,that probably by increasing,the price of the soda and candy people might ,think a little bit more before consumes in excess.

  • Pastor Joe

    Yes and alcohol. How noble a petition to remove tax on alcohol is respected while the will of the people is blocked on many other issues. Those who abuse alcohol place great burden on the tax payer as well as those who are obese. Tax candy, soda and alcohol.

    • Don_B1

      Alcohol IS taxed, but BEFORE the sale price is determined, not as an added charge at the sales register, by both Federal and state governments. The Federal tax rate even varies with alcohol content level: the tax on wine with alcohol at less than 13.9% is lower than wines containing 14% or more alcohol. I believe a similar thing happens with other forms of alcohol.

  • J__o__h__n

    Why not repeal the sales tax exemption for pants above a healthy waist size?

  • fred

    GREAT!!! It isnt bad enough mass***** come to New Hampshire for butts and booze Now theyre going to come for soda and candy. Why not just close the stores down altogether or better yet get rid of your governor and take your rights back. oh yeah…sheep.

    • sd

      I certainly wouldn’t drive all the way to NH just to pick up a pack of M&Ms. I think you’re exaggerating the idea that ppl will flock to NH..ppl go their for alcohol because you can actually save a lot of money since it’s a more expensive item.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-McElroy/100000513220563 George McElroy

    “Supporters of the tax say calling soda and candy food means the state is, in a small way, subsidizing an unhealthy option.”

    This is exactly the type of thinking that “liberals” fall into all the time.
    What is presently happening here is not “subsidizing”, it is just not taxing. The government is not entitled to every penny of my hard earned money with anything left to me to be deemed a personal “subsidy” for me. This was the same thinking that led to the taxation of Amazon.com purchases. If those who want to tax this to alter the behavior of others were honest they would say just that.

    • Don_B1

      When the government takes a penny from one person when they make one type of purchase but not from another person that buys a different thing which no more beneficial to the public, then it is subsidizing the purchase of the object the second person bought.

    • TJtruthandjustice

      If you don’t believe in taxing Amazon.com purchases, then you cannot provide a rational justification for a local sales tax, in which case we might as well close our public schools, police and highway departments, prisons, fire departments and the like. Seeing the word “liberal” used as a derogatory label grows very tiring, especially when today’s Republican party is in so very few ways genuinely conservative. Junk food IS in fact subsidized by billions of our federal tax dollars every year, thanks to agricultural subsidies pushed aggressively by so-called conservative Republican legislators in U.S. farm states.

  • TJtruthandjustice

    According to a 2011 report by USperg, “Between 1995 and 2010, $16.9 billion in tax dollars subsidized four common food additives – corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and soy oils (which are frequently processed further into hydrogenated vegetable oils).” And now we’re supposed to pay taxes on junk food products we’ve spent billions of dollars subsidizing? What’s wrong with this picture?

    • Don_B1

      It shows you that (agricultural) business interests do not mind taking advantage of subsidies but complain about middle and lower income people having any government support.

  • bear118

    I’m always leery of taxing things that are unhealthy in order to get us to buy less of them – but not because I’m opposed to giving people negative incentives. To me, the problem is that the government generally uses the additional revenue to add new programs and services. If the tax works as it was intended to, that revenue decreases over time – and the government then has to find new revenue sources to fund those additional programs, leading to a cycle of ever-increasing taxation and government expansion. If the revenue was used only to pay down debt, I’d be a whole lot more comfortable with the proposal.

  • TheEyeFromTheSidelines

    Maybe I’m naive here but if we tax candy as it’s proposed, I’d like to demand that every last penny go to programs dedicated to educating or tending to those who are “afflicted” by this problem.

    If that does not happen this is simply another back-door entryway for Government to encroach upon my (dare I say “our”?) freedoms. If that does not happen not only does Government get another foothold for attempting to dictate to me how I should be living my life but those tax dollars would be misappropriated to feed the growing beast that teaches Americans how to be dependent and not independent.

    I am, however, an in-shape and responsible adult so what do I know. Watch out America! We’re breeding a nation of dependents!

    • sam_bone

      You have the freedom to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and eat junk food. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay taxes.

  • Marty Garvey

    So the governor thinks that if we put a 6.25% tax on a bag of m&m’s, the kids in the local middle school will reach for a brussel sprout instead! Really??? Where are they going to get the brussel sprout? Are you going to put fresh vegitables in the vending machine? Are you goint to tax all carbonated beverages including soda water that has no sugar? Are you going to exempt fruit juice that is full of sugar and calories? This is a STUPID idea! But the government is very good at STUPID ideas!

  • Nicole

    The question isn’t whether soda and candy should be taxed but whether they deserve an exemption. Sales tax applies to all purchases unless the government specifically decides to make something exempt. A lot of states exempt “food” without defining what food is, so snacks and sodas get the same treatment as apples and milk. Maybe the solution would be to remove the blanket tax exemption for “food” and then make exempt only food items that meet certain health standards. I’d like to see only fresh, minimally processed foods like fruits, veggies, eggs, milk, meat, etc. qualify. If it doesn’t come straight from a farm then it’s probably not good enough for you to deserve an exemption. But any money raised shouldn’t go into the general fund. It should go into programs that encourage healthy lifestyles such as improving public play areas, putting in new bike trails, better gym programs in schools, expanding local farmers markets into neighborhoods with few grocery stores, providing nutrition education, funding scientific research on obesity that isn’t subsidized by pharmaceutical companies, etc. I just don’t want the money going to fund some politician’s pension.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-McElroy/100000513220563 George McElroy

      Why not think of it this way–everything should be exempt, unless we specifically deccide to tax it? All the money earned is big brother’s (the government’s), unless government decides to let us keep some? Get real–do you work? The world has gone upside down.

  • msgnet

    No!!!

    Yes, we do have an obesity problem, but that has in large part been a result of bad policy. Since the 70s the federal government has subsidized corn and urged us to get on a low-fat diet, all of which has led to the proliferation of processed foods and sugars made from corn and corn syrup. It’s downright laughable that the government is now proposing a tax on the very foods that it subsidizes!! Let’s end the farm subsidies, and say no to this tax.

    Also, how about treating people like grown-ups who can decide for themselves what to eat. Adults don’t need coddling from babysitters to coax them into doing this and that. Added taxes on these items is just self-righteous moral bullying.

    • Don_B1

      The subsidies for corn, soy, wheat, etc., started out in an effort to stabilize farmer income across the vagaries of weather, etc., in the growing season. But as “Big Agriculture” rose with huge industrial sized farms and food processing companies, their lobbies have distorted the function, particularly as little of the $ billions go to small farms. The current attempt at a farming bill has foundered on many levels, but the attempt to steer support toward small organic farmers appears to have foundered.

      But adults are not always “adult” and when certain addictions have developed, such as for excess sugar, it IS hard for them to abstain and a little price differential can be effective in helping them help themselves.

      The country generally has fairly high taxes on alcohol, and it does not preclude individuals from indulging; a relatively small tax on “empty calorie drinks” (and maybe other obesity-promoting foods) could help the country lower the threat of obesity to our healthcare system, which, as long as we are a compassionate nation, will be a cost factor in EVERYONE’s healthcare costs.

  • TarbellSteffens

    How does the Republican attorney from Sharon propose to pay
    for educating the public on nutrition?

    Like the calories in junk food, his glib if not wholly disingenuous suggestion is… empty.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      they wont have any books so they will read the back of the dorito packages they get in the lunchroom

  • Guest

    John, I agree with you on your selections. I would TAX all “garbage” items such as soda, chips, cheetos, and ice cream. But now, we have processed foods, which are not good for anyone, and needs to be added to the list of taxable non-food items.

    I agree bacon and hotdogs should be on the list but since those two items are considered food, instead of the heart attack waiting to happen, I guess they will get a free ride.

    Dark Chocolate is considered to be medicine. To follow suit, I am 5’5″ weigh 128 lbs and I’m over 60 yrs old.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      what exaclty is inherently wrong with bacon especially nitrate free bacon? if you don’t like bacon move to isreal

  • Ralph850

    Government has no business manipulating what I eat. My weight is not the governments concern. Try fixing some roads, getting the electric grid to work, how about you put some criminals in jail. Government out of my life.

  • rich4321

    When you go to the frozen food section in a supermarket, it full of unhealthy food that can cause cancer, stroke, heart disease, obesity…. Why isn’t it taxed?

  • rich4321

    When are they going to tax air?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      cap and trade

      • AB

        Actually, cap and trade is an attempt to tax (well, put a market price on–a real tax would be more efficient) the garbage that someone else wants to put into my air. So I’ll see your snark and raise you an “absolutely that’s what I want.”

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          so inhaling will be free but you will have to pay the tax if you want to exhale some of that nasty CO2 right?

          • Don_B1

            Only if your body is burning a fossil fuel, which would mean that you probably will not be around to pay the tax. So just start drinking gasoline and putting oil and grease on your ice cream.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            so only CO2 from fossil fuels will be taxed? what if they need more money why not tax CO2 from all sources? with the state of industrial agriculture your food is mostly made of oil if its not organic

  • gossipy

    This is just one more way for the government machine to justify its existence and continue to believe that it is smarter than the rest of us. The real answer is to replace Civics, Home Economics to include Health and Nutrition, and Gym in our public schools.

  • sjw81

    yes and we have an obesity problem because we in part subsidize the high fructose corn syrup industry, so its cheap to put in all our food, increasing our sugar and wieght.

    • gossipy

      The political machine is in bed with the lobbyists. THAT is what needs to go away.

      • Fedtech

        I have always found churches to be very hypocritical in that aspect. They claim to be helping the poor and sick but refuse to pay taxes (an easy way to support your community). It might be a easy sell here in the commonwealth but down south, they would fight it tooth and nail because they like their huge, awful, monuments and cathedrals to “God”.

        • Fedtech

          Sorry wrong thread!!!

  • John

    I don’t agree with the tax, but if the tax is imposed – presumably in an attempt to curb obesity – why is the money put into the General Fund instead of being slated for safe playgrounds and safe recreational venues? Have you noticed that most of the State’s pools are closed in the summer?

  • Jake

    Amazingly, in the supposed low-tax state of Texas, candy bars are taxed. It was odd to be taxed while buying a single candy bar at a newsstand. I’m not suggesting we follow Texas on most issues, but on this one they have it right.

  • jefe68

    Yes. Junk food is designed to be addictive. In some ways this industry does what the tobacco industry does with it’s products.

    Of course the anti-tax ani government folks will look at this as an attack on freedom without even trying to understand how these industries work. This is not about freedom, it’s about health and the cost of all this junk food has on our society as a whole.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      its designed to be delicious

  • Fatjohn

    “Supporters of the tax say calling soda and candy food means the state is, in a small way, subsidizing an unhealthy option.”
    So, by NOT taxing us the state is complicit in individuals choices? Can i sue the state for being fat?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      no but soon they will be able to sue you. maybe a fat tax?

    • Jordsan

      I might dislike government and taxes as much as other people. But any economist can explain to the most ignorant person that making something tax exempt is one way of granting a subsidy. Size of government/liberties/freedom are orthogonal to the economic question: Should MA subsidize candy and soda? People get fixated on politics and ideology. Can not think of a single downside to removing their sales tax exemption, except of people whining and complaining about it. Are candy and soda so basic and necessary that deserve their special government tax exempt status?

  • afischer

    I don’t drink soda or eat candy so this tax wouldn’t affect me, but it would affect those who can least afford a tax. We’re going about this backwards. We need to eliminate the farm subsidies that help crank out sugary beverages with cheap corn syrup and other nutritionally void junk food snacks. Eliminate those subsidies and the prices will go up. An apple might actually be able to compete. We could also teach nutrition in school so kids understand what they are consuming. There are so many better alternatives to reduce obesity…

    • Jordsan

      I agree with most your ideas except the part about affecting those who can least afford a tax. It would only affect them if they insist on buying something that they don’t need. Nevertheless kids should be taught since very early about the consequences of what they eat (by direct education and by example, which places the blame directly on the parents, by their omission, distraction, ignorance and/or laziness).

      • sd

        I think making poor food choices is just a vicious cycle- kids copy what their parents do and they learn from a young age that eating pringles and cracking open a can of coke is okay. ppl don’t need to buy candy/soda so i agree with the tax. Candy/soda should be looked at more as a treat to have once in awhile not part of a daily diet.

        • pjchooch

          Watch 5 minutes of non-PBS kids programming on television and you will understand why they eat/drink crap.

          Plus, it’s generally what is available. If you go to a convenience store, they don;t have a big rack of fruits and veggies to choose from.

      • pjchooch

        Kids do not understand nor care about consequences, generally, unless they are immediate.

  • J__o__h__n

    I support the soda tax but dark chocolate (in moderation) is good for you. Why should that be taxed when chips, cheetos, ice cream, hotdogs, and bacon aren’t? I’m 6′ tall and weigh 155 lbs. Why should I be taxed to reduce obesity? Stop EBT cards being able to be used to buy junk food.

  • John

    Yes. More tax revenue from something nobody actually needs! If I have to pay tax on small things I consider luxuries, others should pay tax on luxuries like soda and candy. It’s a trivial amount for individuals and its revenue for the state.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      why should we provide more revenue to the state when their waste and corruption already misuses the money we already give them?

  • fatdogtavern

    I think its time we started taxing religious organizations. Why should the church get a free ride? Personally I think religion is a bunch of fairytales, but even if you think they do good, so do hospitals and senior centers ect. Taxing religions would be one Obama tax I could support.

    • rich4321

      Yea, why should the churches be getting free lunch? It’s business and it should be taxed just like one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-McElroy/100000513220563 George McElroy

      I will pray for you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    maybe we should ban the poison cancer causing artificial sweeteners?

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    now that the govt has a finacial interest in our health care what’s next? forced exercise? why should a skinny person pay extra if they want a soda? why not a butter tax? potato chips are fattening so why no tax on those? should whole milk be taxed? if people choose to be fat thats called freedom. This is also targeted at poor people because wealthy people will not even notice if the price of a bottle of coke goes up a nickle. this is just another regressive tax. by the way i am not a soda drinker unless i have a tummy ache sometimes i will have one. now the gov wants to tax my medicine? maybe deval should go back to chicago and work on taxing or banning everything

    • Guest

      I, too, keep one Coca-Cola in my refrigerator in case I get sick. It’s been there for more than a year. Maybe I ought to change it out but I only want it if I am sick to my stomach. I can afford the tax on that !!!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        better stock up before it gets banned or unaffordably taxed

      • Don_B1

        Admittedly hearsay, but I understand that ginger ale works better at “settling a stomach upset” than most other drinks.

  • Leaning Libertarian

    This discussion is being framed in different ways, and with different levels of honesty.

    Dr Smith says, “the idea of adjusting the price of things that we know are associated with [obesity] makes sense”.

    Government adjusting prices is an unpopular idea in the USA. What they might propose instead is re-defining food, or what is not food. If Soda isn’t ‘food’, then it will be taxed like other purchases.

    But then there’s a very slippery slope.

  • Barry

    Yes we have an obesity problem in Massachusetts. Our government is obese. And taxes are like candy to the government. I say fight government obesity – NO NEW TAXES!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001165976049 Alan Joseph

    If they could find a way to tax the air, that would be next!

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      they have canned air in china just like in spaceballz! i bet its taxed lol