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Americans Against Food Taxes, a new coalition of concerned individuals, working families, and small and large businesses, will combat new taxes on beverages and food, including a tax on juice drinks and soda currently under consideration by some members of Congress. Last week, the coalition launched a Web site, www.nobeverageandfoodtaxes.com.
The new coalition has two main goals: to prevent the enactment of what it calls “regressive and discriminatory” food taxes that will hurt cash-strapped consumers, and to promote an improved economy and healthy lifestyles by informing Americans of scientifically backed solutions that address economic realities.
Americans Against Food Taxes’ wide-ranging membership already includes over 110 national and state organizations, in addition to more than 20,000 individuals. Among its members are the American Beverage Association, the National Supermarket Association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, the Corn Refiners Association, the Food Marketing Institute, the International Dairy Foods Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Grocers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the Snack Food Association and the National Taxpayers Union.
“A tax on juice drinks and soda would further squeeze hard-working families already struggling to pay their bills and keep their health coverage,” noted Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association. “With the economic downturn, there could not be a worse time to ask them to pay more for the simple pleasures they enjoy.”
Neeley added that taxes, which raise the prices of certain items that the government wants consumers to eat or drink less of, weren’t the answer to improving public health. “Education, exercise and balanced diets” would be better approaches, she said.
“Our customers and our businesses are already struggling to survive in this recession,” said Nelson A. Eusebio, executive director of the National Supermarket Association and regional co-chair of Americans Against Food Taxes. “We simply cannot afford more government regulation in the form of new taxes on foods and beverages sold by supermarkets and enjoyed by everyday Americans.”
“The last thing we should do is tax food in the midst of the deepest economic recession in over a generation,” observed said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). “Food taxes are bad public policy because they disproportionately impact America’s working families.”
Coalition members have signed a petition at the Americans Against Food Taxes Web site opposing new taxes on juice drinks and soda. The site also enables individuals and businesses to send an e-mail to their members of Congress to protest the proposed taxes. Over 60,000 messages have been sent so far.
The group further noted that the U.S. beverage and food industry is working to end childhood obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles through product innovation, nutrition education and the promotion of physical activity.