Taxing lesser sins

Soda bottleTexas is already doing what it can to tax alcohol and tobacco into oblivion. It’s all part of the category of “six taxes” that I’ve discussed before.

According to WFAA, some people now feel like it’s time to go after obesity through the form of a tax on sugary drinks. In Texas, a tax of 1¢ per ounce (the typical soft drink can is 12 ounces) would generate over $600 million a year in new taxes. That’s a pretty big pot of cash to legislators trying to find money.

At the same time, the lobbyists from soft drink companies would be pretty formidable partners for all those Texans who don’t want to pay more for their soda.

This poses an excellent question for discussion: how much of what is bad for us (physically or spiritually) should we try to tax away? Yes, soda can contribute to obesity which can lead to health costs that might fall upon society. However, other foods and drinks can contribute to obesity. Where should Texas draw the line?


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