In recent years there has been a big push to add extra taxes to sugary soft drinks and snacks. The idea behind the proposed taxes is to counter the American trend to obesity. Last November, Berkley, CA became the first city to pass an additional tax on soda after over 30 other cities and states have failed to pass similar measures. Berkley residents will now pay a penny an ounce extra for their soda.
Like the extra taxes on cigarettes, taxes on sugary foods and drinks are meant to discourage use by making it more expensive to indulge. Maybe a better idea would be not to punish but to reward.
Two Kansas State Senators, Michael O’Donnell (R) and Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D) have put forth a bill that would eliminate the state sales tax on fruits and vegetables. The sponsors of Senate Bill 263 believe the measure would encourage Kansans to purchase and eat more fruits and vegetables.
In an interview with WDAF in Kansas City, Senator O’Donnell said lowering the sales tax on fresh fruits and vegetables would improve the health of everyone. Research indicates a link between obesity and higher fruit and vegetable prices. The higher prices make it more challenging for many families to eat healthy.
Kansas state sales tax is 6.15% with local municipalities having the option of adding their sales tax on to the basic rate. While this bill can only reduce the basic state rate, reducing the tax on healthy foods might be actually be more effective in countering obesity than adding taxes to high sugar foods.
Positive reinforcement as opposed to punishment.