Americas, USA, Opinion

Soda Tax Repeals: Why Don’t They Work?

After just a few months of being approved, the Cook County Illinois Soda Tax has been repealed, with a 15-1 vote that will take effect as soon as Dec. 1. So in the end, who wins? Well, soda companies, knowing that their hard work lobbying in Congress ensured that their delicious beverages stay at a price that keeps it available for everyone.

This is not even the first soda tax to come out this year. But maybe when most people cried foul over a tax on their favorite soda, it was for a good reason?

Soda Tax: Cracking A Cold One

The particular soda tax for Illinois stated that the tax imposed would be at a rate of $0.01 per ounce on the retail sale of all sweetened beverages in Cook County.

Thus, a 12-ounce can of soda would accrue a soda tax total of 12 cents. As harmless as it may be, it tends to add up and increase the overall price. And this is where the problem lied: most people had already been won over by these companies for decades.

@weworewhat in the new @pinkoofficial + @CocaCola collaboration at #FW17. ? + ?= ?

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Coca Cola or Pepsi were not the only ones supporting the repeal. Many regular customers are against the idea of a soda tax. But why?

Many people are unable to afford other beverages such as orange or apple juice. A typical 2-liter bottle of soda is around $2, with most juices of the same amount typically a few bucks more.

S/O to all the friends out there who have strong snack game with the ice-cold Cokes. ?

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This makes a huge difference, especially for people who are below the poverty line, and are looking for drinks that are able to provide a lot for less. A new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the average person on food stamps spends 9.3 percent of their total grocery budget on soda and other sugary drinks.

The idea that soda companies are taking advantage of this market is not too much of a stretch. One can say that this is how low-cost fast-food joints target lower income families and minorities. From this, it’s clear why a soda tax has caused such an uproar.

States and Soda: Friends Or Foes?

Overall, a soda tax is a solution that has a lot to do with health. Like anything with lots of addictive sugar, soda is no exception. It increases the risk of diabetes, obesity, gout and heart diseases through constant consumption.

As logical as it sounds, the way it was done may have been the real issue. Again, no one likes new taxes. Most Americans in a recent poll believe that corporations and the rich are not paying enough of them, so of course they think new taxes on a product are just another headache for them.

Not to mention that nothing upsets most Americans like being controlled. They believe that the government is taking things too far in choosing what they should and should not consume.

And where exactly was that money going? Like most taxes, the soda tax on Illinois was meant to help an already debt-filled state in providing funds for their budget. Again, this only made the soda tax much more questionable to citizens.

As supportive in health a soda tax is trying to be, the cost is just not something that would bode well for everyone. Soda had already won the battle of its supporters. Commercials, brand names and catchy jingles have won the hearts of a few generations.

Americans want the choice, and making them pay a bit more for soda is just not the best strategy. But it doesn’t mean there are other ways to let people be aware of what soda can do, and through moderation, someone can see the health benefits of skipping that next can.

About Jarek Martinez

Born in Chicago, Illinois, a journalism major with plenty of hope for his future and career. Reporting and photography are improving every day, but writing is the passion. The drive. Avid movie watcher and media guy. Also minoring in legal studies and applying for paralegal certification. A big dog person as well.

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