House Candidate proposes Soda Tax
Print This Post
(GRAFTON) The lead sponsor of New Hampshire’s proposed soda tax wants back into the New Hampshire House. Democrat Catherine Mulholland lost her seat two years ago, and wants to bring back her proposal to put a 2% tax on bottled soda.
The former State Representative from Grafton served from 2004 until 2010, and sees a tax on soft drinks as a natural extension of New Hampshire’s sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco.
“To be addicted to sugar is just as bad as being addicted to alcohol or tobacco,” Mulhulland argues.
In 2007, the House soundly rejected Mulholland’s bill to tax candy. In 2010, she joined Lyme Democrat Beatriz Pastor in crafting HB 1679, which would have placed a 2% tax on every bottle of soda sold in New Hampshire, as well as an 80-cent per gallon tax on soft drink syrup. The revenues would have been placed in a newly established Obesity Treatment and Prevention Fund within the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
The Democratic controlled House of Representatives votes to kill the soda tax 288-65 in March 2010, but that hasn’t deterred Mulholland.
According to the Tax Foundation, 17 states treat soda differently from other food products under their general sales taxes, while four states (Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia) have specific excise taxes on soda.
Mulholland hopes that the new tax will help lower consumption of sugary beverages, which she says would lead to lower medical expenses across the state. She says the goal of the tax is not only to change behavior, but to raise revenue to help offset the costs of that behavior. She’s not persuaded by critics who charge her with wanting to set up a Nanny State to tell people what to eat and drink.
Asked if the next step would be a state tax on high-fat foods, she responded, “Perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad idea.”
Mulholland agrees in principle with much of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to improve the Big Apple’s diet. Bloomberg has pushed more disclosure of nutritional information on restaurant menus, forced cooks to phase out trans-fats, and wants to lower sodium levels in packaged and restaurant food by 25% by 2014. This year, Bloomberg wants to ban servings of sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces. Mulholland doesn’t want to keep people from buying extra-large sodas.
“That’s a great idea, but tax it. Don’t restrict the size,” Mulholland counters.
Mulhulland lost her bid for a fourth term in 2010, but is running to reclaim the seat this fall. She faces fellow Democrat Tom Ploszaj in the September Primary for a floterial district representing six towns. Republican Paul Simard is unopposed for the Republican nomination in Grafton County District 17.
One Comment For This Post So Far
NH: House candidate wants tax on soda to fight obesity « Watchdog News
[...] Read the complete story at New Hampshire Watchdog. [...]