In Alabama, legislators are considering a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to deal with a budget deficit. But Alabamians began fighting back this week.
The “Stop the Alabama Beverage Tax” coalition was publicly announced Tuesday. Already it has more than 150 businesses and associations signed up, as well as a few thousand Alabamians, who have been sending dozens of emails to lawmakers telling them to sink the idea of a soda tax.
The coalition joiners are united in the belief that a tax on beverages will end up costing Alabama jobs, raise grocery prices unfairly and push people to shop for less–costly beverages across the border into Mississippi, Florida or Georgia. Newspapers in the state have weighed in already.
“This tax is arbitrary, unfair and would disproportionately hurt lower-income citizens and families,” the Atmore Advance stated in a recent editorial.
Atmore, a small community that is home to a local bottling company that has existed for generations, is an example of how cities in Alabama would be affected by a tax.
“Such a tax would also encourage citizens to travel across the border to Florida to purchase soft drinks. This would harm far more businesses than just Pepsi,” the paper acknowledged.
It’s clear that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in not the solution to Alabama’s budget problems. A state that is trying to turn around its economy should not be focused on taxes that discourage its people from shopping locally and contributing to the state’s economy. They will only be making their situation worse, and jobs will be lost.
As the Advance concludes, “[A] soft drink tax is a dangerous proposal that could easily lead down a ‘slippery slope’ of additional bad taxes.”
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