The pros and cons of taxing foods based on their sugar content
The Urban Institute has just published The Pros and Cons of Taxing Sweetened Beverages Based on Sugar Content.
The report is funded by the American Heart Association and others. The AHA issued a press release.
The sections of the report state its conclusions:
- Taxing Sugar Content Is the Least Costly Way to Reduce Sugar Consumption
- Taxing Based on Sugar Content Is Feasible at the National Level
- Taxing Based on Sugar Content Raises More Issues at the State and Local Level but Is Generally Feasible As Well
The report concludes:
We conclude that taxing based on the amount of added sugar a drink contains, either by taxing sugar content directly or by levying higher volume taxes on drinks with more sugar, is feasible in many jurisdictions and reduces sugar consumption more effectively than comparable taxes on drink volume.
Broad-based volume or sales taxes on all soft drinks, however, raise revenue more efficiently.
Federal, state, and local policymakers thus face trade-offs between using sweetened-beverage taxes to raise revenue and to discourage consumption of added sugars.
Keep this in mind when trying to do this in your community.