Big taxes were one of the tools successfully used to discourage tobacco use over the last few decades. And Initiative 1634 aims to accomplish much the same thing by taxing sugar.
In the case of cigarettes, it made sense. In the case of sugar, however, it does not.
Vote “yes” on I-1634.
The measure would prohibit local governments from imposing any new taxes or fees on grocery items. Taxes on groceries were already soundly rejected by Washington state voters a number of years ago.
Sponsors argue that I-1634 will protect working families.
Granted, given that the top donors behind the initiative are the Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Red Bull North America, that argument is a bit disingenuous. These companies are opposed to a tax that would affect sugary drinks the most.
Everyone understands such a tax might discourage people from drinking liter after liter of pop.
Studies show that sugar is the biggest culprit behind the obesity crisis. It’s a health crisis that not only shortens lives and impacts life quality, but it has a huge economic toll on society.
At first glance, it might seem that a sugar tax would force companies that thrive in a nation of obesity to take some responsibility.
Ultimately, though, the decision about what we put into our bodies, and our children’s bodies, should remain our own, not government’s, local or otherwise.