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Taxing sugary drinks: Good for health and city budgets?

Roger Showley, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE

Monday, June 27, 2016

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Kelly Cunningham, National University System

Answer: NO

Sin taxes on so-called vices -- drinking, smoking, gambling, sugar -- are inefficient attempts at social engineering. Soda taxes intended to increase public health and raise revenue fail on both accounts. If soda consumption is reduced, the amount of tax revenue is lower, and is usually offset by other high-calorie drinks. This does not necessarily reduce obesity or measurably improve health, raises much less money than envisioned, and tax revenues tend to come disproportionately from lower-income households.