Trick or Treat or Tax

November 1, 2006

As excited trick-or-treaters take stock of the Halloween loot they collected last night, parents may be worrying about the health effects of all that sugar. Some parents will take reasonable measures to curb their children’s sugar consumption, such as limiting Halloween candy to after dinner.

Some legislators and researchers have a different idea of how to reduce children’s –and adults’ –sugar consumption: higher taxes on candy, soda and fast food. But as we have written before, efforts to control consumers’ food choices with “fat taxes” are not the solution. In a Tax Foundation op-ed that appeared in the Denver Post earlier this year, Sara Cseresnyes and Andrew Chamberlain wrote:

Taxes are important because they raise revenue for essential government services. Gimmicks like soda taxes make a mockery of that system, turning the tax code into a playground for lawmakers’ paternalistic lifestyle views rather than a tool for funding programs.

If the proponents of “fat taxes” have their way, Halloween may soon be a little less fun for children, or the best day of the year for state government coffers.

For more on excise taxes, click here.


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