The Consumer Wins in Illinois: Legislative Committee Defeats a Progressive Plan to Add a Big New Tax on Soft Drinks
Just as First Lady Michele Obama fights to defend her failed school lunch nutritional standards, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio talks about renewing the effort to ban large soft drinks, we learn that the Illinois legislature came dangerously close to passing a big new tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.
A panel of House lawmakers today voted down a proposal to impose a tax of one penny per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages, saying it would have cost consumers an extra $2.88 per case of soda. Sponsoring Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, said she hoped the tax would generate up to $600 million a year in a state grappling for new dollars while steering people away from unhealthy drinks linked to obesity and diabetes.
Progressives in Illinois must be crushed by the defeat of this legislation. It had everything they could possibly want in a bill – it created more revenue for more big government giveaway programs, and penalized citizens for using products that progressives don’t approve of.
Those in government really need to get a simple fact through their do-gooder heads – Americans live in a free country, which was established on the principle of personal liberty. That means they should have a right (at the very least) to eat and drink what they want without having to be penalized in the form of taxes.
But honestly, does anyone really believe progressives care about “steering people away” from unhealthy foods as much as they care about finding new sources of government spending money? They know Americans are addicted to carbonated drinks and will continue to buy them, despite the cost. That’s why they wanted the tax increase.
It won’t be long before they start targeting potato chips and other forms of junk food, based on the argument that they drive up health care costs.
Thank goodness there were representatives on duty in Illinois who were genuinely on the lookout for consumers. They realized that people will drink soda, anyway, and new taxes would only hurt family budgets. They didn’t try to use the tax system to dictate to citizens what they should drink. They simply voted against a measure that would unnecessarily hurt their pocketbooks.
That’s the proper role of government.