New Poll Says Americans Strongly Oppose Soda Tax

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new nationwide Rasmussen Reports survey showed that 70 percent of Americans oppose a national tax on all non-diet soft drinks, while only 18 percent supported the idea of an “obesity tax” on regular soda like the one proposed by New York Gov. David Paterson. This national sentiment echoes the opinion of a strong majority of New York residents who also oppose Gov. Paterson’s proposal to tax dozens of non-alcoholic beverages like regular soda, juice drinks and tea.

The survey underscores that Americans, who are already struggling to keep their jobs and pay for groceries, fear that more taxes on middle-class life will only increase their financial burden and put even more jobs at risk during a time of record job losses, said Kevin Keane, senior vice president of the American Beverage Association.

“In an economy like this, the last thing government should be doing is raising taxes on the middle class,” Keane said. “Americans are making it clear that they have no appetite for taxing the everyday products they enjoy, especially in the middle of a recession. Nor do they want more jobs put at risk in their communities.”

The non-alcoholic beverage industry directly employs 220,000 people across the nation and an additional tax on these products could jeopardize thousands of them. Specifically in New York, if Gov. Paterson’s proposed tax were to take effect, an estimated 6,100 New Yorkers would lose their jobs because of it.

Publicly released surveys of New York residents conducted by Quinnipiac University and Siena College have all come to the same conclusion that New Yorkers strongly oppose the proposed 18 percent sales tax hike on beverages. The Quinnipiac poll actually shows opposition growing between December and January.

“As these surveys are showing, families aren’t buying the ploy of an ‘obesity tax,'” Keane said. “People are seeing it for what it is — a pure money grab by politicians. And they’re offended that lawmakers would try to raise their taxes during such difficult times.”

Interestingly, the same Rasmussen Report also showed that while 70 percent of Americans oppose a national tax on soft drinks, nearly the same amount — 62 percent — support a national ban of smoking in public places. This result indicates that Americans, rightfully, put these two products on opposite ends of the spectrum. Americans view a refreshing product like soft drinks and a killer like smoking in two completely different universes. This will surely be bad news for extremists trying to lump soda in with a sin tax like tobacco.

The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.