Taxing Soft Drinks Will Not Make People Healthier

A few years ago, New Mexico eliminated its tax on groceries. While this was not technically a tax cut because other taxes were increased, groceries are now a target for the tax-hikers in Santa Fe. Some, particularly self-appointed advocates for the poor, wish to only raise taxes on “bad” food items like soda pop. But, as this column rightly points out, taxing soda will not improve overall health measures.

For starters, “It’s pretty hard to single out soft drinks as a unique contributor to obesity when regular soft drink sales have declined 9.6 percent since 2000, but CDC data shows that adult and childhood obesity rates have risen during that period.” When lawmakers in Santa Fe are talking tax hikes (a misguided proposition), they need to be careful about taxing soda and cigarettes to name just a two because these items are disproportionately consumed by lower income workers. Ah, the dilemma of the do-gooders!

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