July 18, 2006

Soda Tax Fizzles Out

The RMN editorial had this to say:
Pop goes the soda tax in Aurora. For now, anyway.

City Councilman Bob Fitzgerald pulled his proposal to add a one penny tax to the sale of some soft drinks and juices - but not others - on the advice of the city's business advisory council.

The scheme could come before the council and be referred to voters next year, or it could fizzle entirely. We would prefer the latter.

Fitzgerald thinks the tax could discourage obesity and raise as much as $1.8 million a year for city coffers. But his proposal would be baffling in practice.

One version under discussion would exempt diet pop and milk but tax artificially flavored juice and vegetable drinks. Just imagine the joys awaiting clerks at liquor stores and small markets that can't program their cash registers to distinguish between the beverages that are subject to the tax from those that aren't. And we haven't even touched upon the complications for vending machine owners.

Sounds like an administrative nightmare that would scarcely reduce a weighty problem. Good thing it went flat.
Administrative considerations aside, one can just begin to grasp the myriad and preposterous possibilities of extending such "bad behavior" taxes beyond the soda pop can.

Any other bright ideas?


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