Thursday, April 01, 2010

Study Finds Soda Taxes Don't Change Behavior Unless They're High Enough

Imagine my lack of surprise to find that a study found that soda taxes don't change behavior unless the taxes are sufficiently high enough to get people to stop buying the product altogether. That's the outcome of a new study that will likely shape state and local taxation in the coming years as states around the country look to find new areas of revenues because of their sagging tax receipts.
They found the taxes made no real difference on overall soda consumption or on obesity for kids overall. They did have a small effect on certain children — especially those from families with an annual income of $25,000 or less. Those kids — who drank about seven cans of soda a week, on average — drank one less can because of the taxes, Sturm said.

However, if the taxes were more like 18 cents on the dollar, Sturm calculated it would make a significant difference.

The research is being published online Thursday in the journal Health Affairs. The Rand study was funded by the federal government and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Note also that if the taxes are implemented, it might lead to less people drinking soda, but it will also mean reduced tax revenues from the soda bottlers and the drink manufacturers along with a loss of jobs.

The problem isn't soda, or even the lack of calorie counts. It's the lack of accountability by parents and individuals. They are the ones who choose to drink and consume mass quantities of food that are high in calories and sugar while leading sedentary lifestyles. That's not going to change because of the nanny staters. They'll still engage in sedentary lifestyles, except that they'll pay even more for it.

States and localities that will enact this law will likely find that their revenue expectations are dashed when the revenues don't match the projections.

No comments: