Target: Richmond City Council and Mayor Gayle McLaughlin
Goal: Don’t put the local economy at risk by taxing soda and other sugary beverages
The city of Richmond, California has proposed a new tax for soda and other sugary beverages which will be featured on this November’s upcoming ballot. The idea is to put a “penny per ounce” tax in place, in order to raise money for local school sports programs and healthier school meals. While this may seem like a good idea, there is no guarantee that the money will actually be spent with the goal of fighting childhood obesity in mind.
Opponents of this tax have argued that it will not only harm the poorest residents in the area, but will also stifle many businesses and dissuade grocery stores and restaurants from opening up new locations in Richmond. The tax will also be unlikely to deter people who consume soda to stop buying it altogether. They will simply be pushed outside the city to do their shopping.
If passed, Richmond could be the first city in the nation to tax sugar-sweetened beverages. Soda may indeed be a huge factor contributing to the city’s high obesity rate, but it is not the only one and taxing popular beverages is not going to solve the nation’s obesity problem. It is unfair for the government to dictate which beverages citizens can and cannot consume.
This proposed soda tax does not guarantee that the money generated from it will actually be spent on anti-obesity programs. Taxing soda and other sweetened drinks will only hurt the already poor community. Instead, focus should be on other concerns of the city like generating jobs or reducing gang violence. Oppose the tax by signing this petition to ask the Richmond City Council to remove the tax from the ballot.
Dear Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Richmond City Council,
I am writing to ask you to remove the proposed beverage tax from this year’s November ballot. It is simply unfair to propose a tax on soda and other sugary beverages as a solution in the fight against obesity. While this issue is an important one, adding a “penny per ounce” tax on various beverages will not solve this problem. Residents of Richmond will just be forced to travel further to buy their groceries in a city that doesn’t impose taxes.
Many local businesses may also be hurt because of these tax increases on their products. Regulating which beverages people can and cannot drink will not support the community. People can decide for themselves what they choose to consume, and government taxes will not likely change their opinions.
I would urge you to consider eliminating this tax from the ballot and focus on bigger problems in the community.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: fimoculous