MASSACHUSETTS TO TAX SUGARY DRINKS

By Bob Katzen

The Revenue Committee held a hearing on a bill that taxes sugary soft drinks which are currently exempt from the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax.

Supporters say the tax would raise an estimated $368 million that the state would put to good use. They note the tax would discourage people from buying these drinks, help fight the obesity epidemic and stem the rising tide of obesity-related health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Opponents say families are struggling financially and it is not the time for another tax increase promoted by the “food police.” Some noted that many other things contribute to obesity including a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and fast food consumption.

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