No Hawaii Beverage Tax is a coalition of individuals, families, businesses and community organizations in our state who are opposed to singling out certain beverages, like soft drinks, for a new tax. We formed the group to tell our elected officials in Honolulu that we can’t afford new taxes. The government should balance its own budget and leave our grocery budgets alone.
In a difficult economy that has been particularly hard for many here in Hawaii, we need our politicians to stand up for families and say no to new, discriminatory taxes. Politicians tried to push through a beverage tax last year – it didn’t work. We need to stand firm once again.
New taxes don’t teach healthy lifestyles.
Hawaii’s obesity problem is bigger than soda. Science shows that calories from all foods count. Placing a discriminatory tax on beverages will not change behaviors or teach children about a healthier lifestyle. Parents and caretakers are responsible for helping children make smart decisions about diet, exercise and moderation.
The government is getting too involved in our lives.
The people of Hawaii can decide for ourselves what to buy for our families – we don’t need the government to interfere in our decisions about what to eat or drink.
A new tax would be bad for our economy.
At a time when unemployment is high and the economy is unsteady, adding a new tax on common grocery items like beverages will put well-paying jobs at risk. It would also hurt small businesses, like neighborhood grocery stores and convenience stores that will be harmed by shrinking sales.
We are already over-taxed.
The general excise tax, also known as a gross receipts tax, applies to nearly every type of transaction, including services. That means products and services are taxed in Hawaii that are not subject to tax in mainland states; for example, rent and medical services. It even means that at times, we’re paying a tax on top of a tax.
Singling out soft drinks and other beverages for a new tax is discriminatory and regressive.
Targeting soft drinks, juice drinks, teas and other beverages for a discriminatory tax will hurt the hard-working people of our state. Lawmakers should not unfairly single out items in our grocery carts for new taxes that will lead to higher prices.
A new tax would hit the hardest at those who can least afford it.
Middle- and lower- income families are already struggling to stretch their grocery dollars to keep up with bills. During tough times like these, adding a new tax will hurt these families the most.
A more expensive bottle bill is already in the works.
Our families are charged a 5¢ deposit every time we buy a drink, soda, or bottled water from our local grocery. Now, instead of trimming their own spending, some lawmakers are trying to double the cost of the deposit to fund Medicaid. Where does it end?
How will new tax money be used?
We don’t know. Even if lawmakers claim the money raised will be used for particular programs, unfortunately, there’s no guarantee where the money will end up. Lawmakers should trim their own wasteful spending—and leave our grocery budgets alone.