California: Businesses and the Proposed Soda Tax

California: Businesses and the Proposed Soda Tax

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Opinion: Some of the new city initiatives on the 2016 Ballot include a proposed tax hike on soda, which would directly affect the distributor of the sugary drinks, and not the soda companies themselves. Some of the cities that could be affected by the proposed tax are San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany. By trying to implement the tax, local governments are attempting to persuade people to have a healthy lifestyle. The new measure would, “levy a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sodas and other sugary drinks at the distributor level, with the proceeds going to those cities’ general funds.” Despite, whatever good intentions might have been behind the writing of the proposed tax hike, the hike itself is of a government that has grown too large for its britches. Pun intended.

State and local governments in California, as well as in the other states, already seem to be incapable of managing the taxes that they already receive. So why should they be given more money to mismanage?    

City officials say they’d spend the money on programs to combat diabetes and obesity, though they wouldn’t be compelled to do so.

The government won’t even put the money received from the new tax into a specific account. The money would go into the general fund, and politicians could use the money for whatever purpose they wish.

Heather Knight, a writer San Francisco Chronicle, writes that “In the case of a small mom-and-pop grocer, that’s often the owner who goes, for example, to Costco in South San Francisco, buys the soda and sells it at a higher price at his or her store. In that case, the owner would have to pay the tax.” The small business owner would have to pay the new tax on soda, but they don’t necessarily have to pass that cost along to the consumer. Although, they might have to if the tax is too much of a burden on their business. Then if small mom and pop shops can’t keep their prices aligned with, or less than, the bigger chains, then more than likely the mom and pop shops will be forced to close. People already have a difficult time living in the city, this tax would make it unnecessarily difficult. Especially, when factoring in the cost of living in San Francisco or many the surrounding areas.

The measure also states that the tax would be used to provide education about obesity and diabetes. However, a majority of the population in California have attended or have had children that attended a public school, which is required to teach students about living a healthy lifestyle. Publically funded schools should be given the resources to teach students properly so that initiatives like the proposed soda tax don’t need to become a necessity. Home-Economic classes are where people were taught basic life skills, which included cooking. It’s amazing how many Millennials are unable to cook a well-balanced meal for themselves, which in turn makes them unable to cook well-balanced meals for their families.  

People shouldn’t be punished because they like sugar. If governments really wanted to make a change they should tax bags of sugar that consumers can purchase at a grocery store, or perhaps they should tax cookies or candy. Perhaps they should tax Halloween while they’re at it. See it’s ridiculous and impossible to try and tax everything with sugar in it. If the government were serious about educating people, then maybe they should reinstate home-economic classes.

Not all problems can be fixed with a tax hike, look at what happened in Boston in 1773.

Follow this author on Twitter: @jrichardson1776

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