Alert: Senate Ways and Means Committee decides NOT to hear beverage tax
We wanted to share some very good news developing in the State Legislature. The Senate Ways and Means Committee has decided not to hear the beverage tax. While the bill could potentially still be heard before the legislature ends in early May, we are cautiously optimistic that this is an important first step toward killing the bill.
“We decided that we won’t be moving forward with the soda fee this year. Of course, it’s always in play for next year,” said Ways and Means Committee chairman David Ige. ”In just talking with the members, we didn’t believe that it would be prudent for us to implement that fee this year.”
The No Hawaii Beverage Tax coalition worked hard to show lawmakers how harmful the beverage tax would be for families and businesses here, and we are happy that the members of the Ways and Means committee decided not to move the bill forward. The Senate recognizes we must all share in the responsibility for solving obesity, rather than targeting a single product.
Thank you for your ongoing support. Together, we are one step closer to ensuring that the beverage tax is defeated for the third year in a row!
-No Hawaii Beverage Tax
Alert: Taking a Closer Look at the Beverage Tax
This week we wanted to share with you another side of this debate that isn’t always considered: the unintended consequences of the beverage tax. The Ball Corporation, one of the pillars of Hawaii’s manufacturing industry, is the only manufacturer of metal cans in the islands. They opened in Hawaii in 1979 and have been providing good local jobs ever since. The company employs 45 people and the beverage tax places their jobs directly at risk.
If the beverage tax passes, the Ball Corporation would likely have to shut down. That’s 45 people with good jobs who would be out of work.
Since Ball Corporation is the only can manufacturing plant in Hawaii, we’d have to ship over empty cans from the mainland. Not only is that wasteful, it would also drive up the costs of beverages even further.
It’s just one of the unintended consequences of the beverage tax. Lowell Kalapa, President of the Hawaii Tax Foundation, wrote a great article for the Honolulu Civil Beat recently that urged the media to really consider the full impact of the legislature’s actions:
“Individually, each of these proposals seems harmless – a penny here, a dime there – it doesn’t seem like much, but put them altogether and families will be hit with a substantial whack to their pocketbooks next year. Surprisingly, even the media seems to be immune to what is going on at the legislature as they focus in on the individual proposals. They too have been lulled into “feeling good” that issues such as childhood obesity and watershed restoration are being addressed without comprehending the overall financial impact that many of these fees and taxes are creating. So it is up to you, as the taxpayer, to weigh in as to whether or not you are willing to shell more out from your wallet for more government. Lawmakers need to hear from you.”
We couldn’t agree with Lowell more.
The beverage tax is still waiting to be heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. We have been monitoring the bill and will continue to send you important updates as they develop.
We have 360 businesses, over 2,600 individual supporters and more than 10,000 people have liked us on Facebook. Our coalition grows every day and we need your help to continue spreading the facts about what this beverage tax would do. Please ask friends and family to join our coalition if they haven’t already.
-Your Friends at No Hawaii Beverage Tax
Alert: Beverage Tax Passes Two Senate Committees
Troubling news this week – the Senate Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Judiciary & Labor voted this week to approve the penny per ounce beverage tax.
The tax proposal would add $1.44 to a 12-pack of 12 oz. beverages (and that’s on top of the GET, bottle deposit and handling fee).
Some are claiming that revenue from such a tax would fight obesity. The Maui News ran an editorial this week examining this questionable claim and agrees that taxing soda is not the solution.
“Proponents say the measure is needed to combat childhood obesity. Does anyone really think that charging a 12-cent tax on a can of pop is going to change Junior’s drinking habits?”
Not only will this tax not change Junior’s drinking habits, it is also the worst time to place added burdens on consumers, families and small businesses.
So what are the facts? The reality is that calories in the American diet from added sugars in soda have dropped nearly 40 percent since 2000. In addition, calories from soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages make up just 7 percent of the American diet. We wish the Senate committees this week had spent more time analyzing the real data instead of singling out the beverage industry and putting local jobs in jeopardy.
The beverage tax is now headed to the Senate Ways and Means Committee – where they will vote on the proposal by the end of February. We will keep monitoring the bill and continue to send you important updates as they develop.
Our coalition has 360 businesses, over 2,500 individual supporters and 9,500 people have liked us on Facebook. With your continued help, we are going to show the Legislature that a beverage tax is a bad idea for the people of Hawaii.
-Your Friends at No Hawaii Beverage Tax
ALERT: Beverage tax introduced in Legislature
No Surprise! A beverage tax has been introduced in Hawaii for the third straight year.
Governor Abercrombie and the Department of Health are urging state lawmakers to approve a penny per ounce tax on most sweetened beverages, claiming that revenue from such a tax would fight obesity. Taxing soda is not the solution. At a time when we are finally seeing our economy recover, this is the worst time to place added burdens on consumers and small businesses.
Calories in the American diet from added sugars in soda have dropped nearly 40 percent since 2000. In addition, calories from soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages make up just 7 percent of the American diet. So it makes no sense to single out the beverage industry – an industry which is one of the last to manufacture many of its products right here in the islands–as the culprit for a growing obesity problem.
Everyone knows that obesity is a complex issue requiring a holistic approach that involves healthy eating and more exercise. Taxing beverages is a tactic that takes our eye off the real problem and hits consumers directly in the pocketbook at the grocery store.
As public audits recently revealed, it’s difficult to trust the Department of Health to spend our tax dollars wisely. Our politicians should be focusing on important issues like maintaining the economic recovery and not imposing discriminatory taxes that aren’t going to do anything to improve the health of our citizens.
Our coalition has over 340 businesses and 2,300 individual supporters. With your help, we are going to show the Legislature that a beverage tax is a bad idea for the people of Hawaii.
-Your Friends at No Hawaii Beverage Tax
January 2, 2013
Aloha from the No Hawaii Beverage Tax Coalition!
As 2013 starts off, we wanted to let you know how our work is going and give you an update on what we expect in this new year.
In November, voters in two California cities, Richmond and El Monte, went to the polls and voted on local ballot measures that proposed placing a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Hundreds of products, from juice drinks to bubble teas, were swept up in the net of these ill-conceived tax measures. Both measures were met with strong opposition by local businesses and families and both were resoundingly defeated at the ballot box. Sixty-eight percent of Richmond voters said “NO” to the tax and 76% of El Monte voters said “NO.”
On the international front, November also brought therepeal of Denmark’s wildly unpopular “fat tax” after only one year on the books. As Danes began flocking across the border to Sweden and Germany to buy groceries, lawmakers were forced to face the harmful effect the tax had on businesses throughout the country.
From Southern California to Northern Europe, the message is clear: obesity can’t be solved through a tax, and people want politicians to focus on solving big problems instead of singling out common grocery items for unfair taxes.
We’ve been busy growing our coalition of concerned citizens, families, business and organizations opposed to beverage taxes. Our coalition has over 2,300 individual members, over 8,000 Facebook fans and more than 340 business members. It’s so exciting to see momentum building against a beverage tax!
As the legislative session begins, we’re working hard to tell our elected officials that discriminatory taxes hurt Hawaii’s businesses and families, and that in these tough economic times we simply can’t afford to let politicians experiment with bad policies.
Hawaii was just ranked near the bottom of states friendly to business—beverage taxes will only make matters worse and hurt an industry that supports thousands of jobs across the Islands.
Thank you for your continued support! Let’s keep politicians out of our shopping carts.
-Your friends at No Hawaii Beverage Tax
July 23, 2012
Aloha from No Hawaii Beverage Tax! We hope everyone is having a great summer. We’ve been meeting great people throughout the state who are joining the effort to tell the government: stay out of our grocery carts!
Last week, the Department of Health announced a half-cent increase in the deposit beverage container fee, which funds the HI-5 recycling program. Hawaii’s retailers have come out against the fee hike, saying that the clunky ½ cent increase is going to lead to higher prices for merchants and consumers. Carol Pregill, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, explains the increase this way: “there is no half-cent currency! The small retailer will have to “eat” the half-cent on every single unit he sells. In this mandated business model, the more the retailer sells, the more money he loses.”
Adding insult to injury, the state has collected about $400 million through the seven-year-old program, despite the fact that the Auditor’s Office has only released one public audit since 2005—and state law mandates an audit every two years. That’s a lot of money with no public accountability! The half-cent increase goes into effect September 1.
We’ve also been busy adding new members to No Hawaii Beverage Tax. We had a great time at the Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality & Foodservice Expo earlier this month, and we’ll be in Kauai later this week signing up new members.
As July comes to a close, we continue to work to make sure our lawmakers get the message loud and clear: People are working hard to make ends meet and we don’t need the government telling us what to eat and drink. No Hawaii Beverage Tax!
The 2012 state legislative session has come to a close, and once again the beverage tax was defeated! This is a big victory for the No Hawaii Beverage Tax coalition – and we wouldn’t have been successful without your support. Lawmakers have pledged to reopen the tax issue in 2013, so there is much work to be done over the next year.
The legislature has even put in place an “Obesity Task Force” that will meet during the rest of the year to come up with “solutions” to the obesity problem – which will probably include a recommendation for a beverage tax in the 2013 legislative session.
Also, the state Department of Health is expected to increase the deposit container handling fee by 50% on September 1 – to 1 ½ cent per container. We think enough is enough!
Residents of the Aloha State already have a high tax burden, and a tax on sweetened beverages would not just hit consumers in their wallets, it would also hit the folks who work in the corner stores, the drivers who deliver drinks across the islands, and the people working in our state’s bottling plants. Our lawmakers should spend more time worrying about jobs and less time worrying about what we buy at the grocery store.
We know that the government telling us what to eat and drink is a bad deal, and we’ll need your help over the next year to again tell the legislature — No Hawaii Beverage Tax!
The governor and some Hawaii politicians are pushing for taxes on soft drinks, juice drinks, sports drinks, teas, and more in 2012.
The Aloha State is a great place to live—but we already pay huge amounts in taxes, especially when you consider the general excise tax. In fact, when compared to any other state in the country, we pay more for food, gas, housing, and other necessities.
You would think our lawmakers would know all this. You would think that they would want to lessen our burden and promote policies that grow jobs here in Hawaii.
Instead, they’re hitting us with two new proposed fees at the grocery store: A beverage tax and an increased bottle fee.
Some politicians say a new beverage tax is necessary for our “well-being.” We know better.
Here are the facts: Hawaii’s obesity problem is bigger than soda. Studies show that taxes on soft drinks don’t work. It should be up to parents, not the state, to make healthy lifestyle and dietary decisions for their families.
Our lawmakers would like us to believe that a new tax on soft drinks will cure our obesity problem. They’re even talking about creating some kind of “Obesity Task Force,” to police our eating habits.
A new beverage tax won’t be the only fee we’ll have to look forward to: The 5¢ beverage deposit fee could also double.
If this bill passes, we’ll be forced to shell out an additional 10¢ on everything from soda to bottled water!
We said no last year, and will say it again this year: The people of Hawaii cannot afford to pay more in food taxes.
That’s why we’ve come together to form No Hawaii Beverage Tax.
No Hawaii Beverage Tax is a group of concerned citizens, families, businesses and community organizations who want to send a strong message to our elected officials that we reject any discriminatory tax proposals on common grocery items like beverages.