Skip to comments.Memo to SF City Hall: Supervise Someone Else
Posted on 08/03/2014 8:09:22 AM PDT by Kaslin
The (well-funded, I am sure) opposition to San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener's ballot measure to tax soda and other sugary drinks calls itself the Coalition for an Affordable City. Its website features owners of corner markets explaining how the proposed tax would hurt their businesses and expressing their bewilderment at City Hall's picking on hardworking merchants.
I agree with every point they make, but there's a more fundamental problem with the measure. From the moment Wiener came to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board last November with a group of like-minded earnest folk to tout this scheme, a little voice in the back of my head kept repeating: Don't you people have anything better to do?
I thought voters elect officials to solve civic problems, not rummage through people's habits for an excuse to devise a "first city in the nation" nanny tax.
In that same headline-hunting spirit, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., has introduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2014, which would levy a 1-cent federal tax on every 4.2 grams of sweetener. She calls it the SWEET Act; the name alone could induce diabetes.
The San Francisco soda tax would levy a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sodas and other SSBs; that's the City Hall wonk abbreviation for sugar-sweetened beverages. The idea is to dissuade San Franciscans and tourists from drinking too many soft drinks. Choose Health SF -- the pro-tax political committee -- warns that in 2010, 32 percent of San Francisco children were obese or overweight. And: "Soda is the largest single source of added sugar in the American diet." A tax, say boosters, should slim the city's waistline and, hence, save the city millions of dollars in health costs attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages.
The San Francisco Office of Economic Analysis predicts that the new tax would bring in $35 million to $54 million. After administrative costs, 40 percent of the new revenue would go to the San Francisco Unified School District for nutrition classes and such; 25 percent would go to the Department of Public Health and the Public Utilities Commission for healthful-food initiatives; 25 percent would go to the Recreation and Park Department for sports programs; and 10 percent would go to community-based groups. Thus, representatives of these fields support the measure -- a necessary condition, as the measure requires a two-thirds vote to pass.
The city controller recognizes that less-educated and poor populations allocate "a larger proportion of their spending on sugar-sweetened beverages than other groups."
The city controller also predicts a reduction in soda consumption by up to 31 percent, but with the caveat that consumers might use today's soda money to buy other high-calorie food and drinks. Ice cream? Beer?
La Follette School of Public Affairs health economist Jason Fletcher researched the evidence and found "large increases in soft drink taxes are unlikely to reduce total caloric intake. The impact of soft drink taxes on the body mass index is small in magnitude and not statistically significant."
In short: The soda tax would be a regressive measure that probably wouldn't do much to reduce obesity. But stores and pizza parlors that stand to lose out if consumers change their eating habits should not complain, because the sponsors mean well.
There was a time when no City Hall pol would dare oppose this sort of headline-seeking "first in the nation" nanny bill. No longer. San Francisco supervisors approved the measure for the November ballot by a 6-4 vote. As Chronicle staff writer Heather Knight reported, the four supes who voted no -- London Breed, Jane Kim, Katy Tang and Norman Yee -- are people of color who represent neighborhoods with many minority voters. You can imagine the talk around their constituents' kitchen tables.
You cannot walk down Market Street without seeing street people who engage in all manner of unhealthy behaviors. When adults are dysfunctional to the point of being threatening, they get a pass. But if there's one group City Hall feels it can lecture, levy and scold, it's fat people who buy Big Gulps.
How did Sin City turn into Sin Tax City? People who drink lots of soda have to be looking at Wiener and thinking that he ought to have better things to do than levy a soda tax that falls disproportionately on poor people and doesn't yield the promised results. There's an old saying in the schoolyard: Why don't you pick on someone your own size?
When affordability meets nanny-state health supervision: Will they tax sugar-loaded reinforced bum wines (20% port)? Cheap calories. /S
Hey dumba$$e$. Yeah you, progressive scum. We ALREADY PAY TAXES on those items. We know your end game - to control and regulate ever facet of life, not for OUR benefit or health; for you to steal from OUR pockets and feather your nest in the name of social guilt using a feigned purpose. In other words all you are, are professional thieves; conmen.
If they are going to tax activities and products which are considered a threat to public health, why are they going after sodas?
Considering it’s San Francisco, and the homosexual culture there, they should tax those bathhouses where men go. God knows what goes on in those places. And those activities are a threat to public health. So, if we are going to tax things which are a threat to public health, why do we exempt casual homosexual sex activity from the equation?
Here we go again. NY’s law was stopped by the courts.
I think that best way to fight this is to get the Big Boys on your side. When you are being bullied, get a bigger bully on your side, ie the soda companies.
How do you get the soda companies to really fight this? Stop buying soda. They will jump in with both feet when their sales tank.
“We know your end game - to control and regulate ever facet of life, not for OUR benefit or health; for you to steal from OUR pockets and feather your nest in the name of social guilt using a feigned purpose.”
They are actually just being practical; if government healthcare is the endgame, let the chubbies pay for their healthcare up front. They already do it with tobacco and alcohol; now they’re doing it with sugar.
Well, that’s liberals for you. They can never tax enough
This Soda Tax by Gay Frisco is another prime example of the difference between left wing progressives and republicans.
If we think that sugar in sodas is bad for us, we don’t buy it or buy less.
The tax addictive progressives will devise a tax scheme that will hire hundreds of idiots to run it. Of course that will eat up all if not most of the soda tax haul.
If a Republican doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one. If a DemocRat doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat. If a DemocRat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life. If a DemocRat is a homosexual, he demands legislated respect.
If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. If a DemocRat is down-and-out he wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a Republican doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels. A DemocRat demands that those they don’t like be shut down.
If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church. A DemocRat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.
If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. If a DemocRat decides he needs health care. He demands that
the rest of us pay for his health care.
I can buy a 67 + ounce bottle of Sprite for $1 at my local store. This tax would cost me another $1.34 on top of that dollar. The tax is more than the price of the product!!!
A black market in sodas will follow, IMO.
Politicians need to stay out of my pantry & kitchen.
Check out these letters to the editor on this subject:
If this tax can reduce healthcare costs that we taxpayers also pay for, it could be worth it!