Americans Don’t Want Soft Drink Tax: Poll

According to a recent national poll by Asbury Park, N.J.-based media organization Rasmussen Reports, 56 percent of Americans are against a tax on soft drinks, because they strongly believe that lawmakers would use the money raised to expand the government rather than to improve public health. Just 33 percent of respondents are in favor of such a tax.

“This poll reinforces that people don’t want one more penny in taxes, especially on their groceries,” observed Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, the Washington-based trade group representing the companies that manufacture and distribute nonalcoholic beverages in the United States. “In this troubled economy, it’s the wrong time to raise taxes on hard-working families, particularly when the revenue would simply pay for more government.”

The survey further found that 73 percent of respondents think that lawmakers pushing for a tax on soft drinks are really more interested in raising additional funds for government, while 17 percent believe that the same lawmakers want to help Americans get healthier.

Additionally, 86 percent of respondents believe that legislators have no right to dictate what their constituencies eat or drink. This conviction informs recent developments in the movement to establish a soft drink tax. Last year, Congress declined to pursue such a tax to fund health care reform. In 2008, the state government in Maine imposed a tax on soft drinks and other beverages to pay for its state-run health care program, but in a ballot initiative this past November, Mainers rejected the measure by a two-to-one margin. In New York, Gov. David Paterson dropped his bid to levy a major tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in 2009 after receiving strong pushback from New Yorkers, and a similar proposal the governor made this year is getting the same reaction.

To find out more about the Rasmussen survey, visit
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