The mayor of Philadelphia continues to make headlines for a so-called soda tax, but critics maintain it will do more harm than good.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) has proposed taxing sugary beverages at three cents per ounce, which would be the highest soda tax proposed in the U.S., and he wants to use the revenue to pay for things such as universal pre-Kindergarten, which was one of his major campaign promises last year.
"I think it's very fascinating that these taxes, these soda taxes, are coming from the left, because they are the most regressive taxes that you can come up with," comments Jeff Stier, senior fellow and director of the Risk Analysis Division at The National Center for Public Policy Research. "They hurt poor people the most."
According to Stier, wealthy people are not going to worry about paying more for soda. But for people in lower-income brackets, the higher amount will hurt.
"The tax is going to fund programs by taxing poor people," Stier adds. "I'm surprised that the left is in favor of that, when they always complain about the burden of tax on low-income people."
The analyst adds that people behind these kinds of taxes purposely attach them to heartstring issues — in this case, early childhood education. In doing so, Stier says they have a defense when critics speak out.
"They would say, 'If you are against the soda tax, then you must be against children being educated,'" Stier explains. "By the way, all of the evidence shows, at least in the history of cigarette taxes and settlement money from the massive settlement agreement that state attorneys general signed, that the money doesn't go to where they say it's going to go."
In a related paper for the Independent Women's Forum, Senior Fellow and author Julie Gunlock urges people concerned about these kinds of taxes to get organized and to make their voices heard.