Friday, October 02, 2009


Narrow the deficit gap and our waistlines at the same time

by Larry Geller

How much would we have to increase taxes to avoid all these layoffs and furloughs? How much would it cost each of us to keep the schools open?

This could help. It’s an out-of-the-box-bottle solution to produce a little extra revenue. Here’s the theory, anyway:

Taxes on sugared beverages can generate considerable revenue for states, cities, and the nation. This calculator produces expected revenue by allowing the user to list the tax per ounce and the type of beverages to be taxed.

This is from Yale University, so give it a chance. It’s a calculator created by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, and so you can imagine that there is an ulterior motive to it, which is, of course, to reduce the amount of sugary beverages we consume. Yup, it’s a sin tax.

Select Hawaii as the state, then plug in a tax of just 2 cents per ounce on both sugar-sweetened and diet beverages, and looky: we should realize $169,160,651. Now, that might be a little high, considering how many ounces are in a can or bottle, but the calculator goes all the way down to .01 cents per ounce.

Play with it. Imagine, help narrow the budget gap and improve public health at the same time.


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