Thursday, February 11, 2010
By: Justin Tafoya
Gov. Bill Ritter is proposing a bill that will eliminate the sales-tax exemption for candy and soft drinks in Colorado. House Bill 1191 is estimated to raise $17.9 million and is one of seven bills before the Senate that will generate a total of $131.8 million that will help make up for the $1 billion dollar deficit that Colorado is facing in 2010-11. Gov. Ritter is hoping to “retire” the tax exemptions by March so the money can be applied to this years budget, which ends in June. The proposed bill will place a three cent tax on all soft drinks and candy, but it’s the definition of candy that has law makers skeptical. The bill states that candy that contains flour would not be subject to the tax, “So a dipped pretzel or a dipped Oreo is not candy, but a dipped strawberry is?" Those against the bill, local candy owners and beverage distributors, argue that the proposed Bill will hurt business and eliminate Colorado jobs. Those in support of the Bill certainly have Colorado’s health in mind, but the revenue the Bill would raise is the bigger issue. Taxing candy or soda pop is nothing new. More than half of the states in the country have adopted some form of taxing candy and soda. Despite the complaints of beverage distributors, Coca Cola has seen sales increase in those states taxing soft drinks. Although this will help reduce the deficit, the health effects, in my opinion, will not change. Perhaps we are on the verge of changing the way Coloradoans eat and drink but if Health is the issue that law makers seek, taxing Charlie’s Wonka Bar is not enough.