When Taxation’s Involved, Everything’s a Sin

One of my classes in high school did a unit of debating, and among the topics was the legitimacy of sin taxes. Something peculiar is in play when a government entity takes more of your money for your own good, and not surprisingly, the scope of taxable sins is apt to expand:

One week after a White House task force suggested that raising taxes on sugary drinks might help combat childhood obesity, Rhode Island’s House Finance Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would levy a new tax on soda.
The measure would make Rhode Island consumers pay a 5-cent tax on every soft drink they buy and 10 cents on each such beverage larger than 20 ounces.

Far be it from me to suspect the motives of our good legislators, but given the flow of this tax money, I can’t help but recall that the state has been trying to cut its aid to cities and towns:

It is not clear how much money the proposed tax would raise, but the bill would funnel all such revenue to the city or town where the drink was sold. The resulting funds could be used to establish or maintain local recreational facilities, jogging paths and the like, [State Rep. Edith] Ajello [D, Providence] said.

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Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

Justin, I hate to seem like such an oldster, but what is a “unit”. I have only heard the term once before, my daughter’s schjool sent out a letter telling parents that two “units” of American History would be eliminated to make room for two “units” of African History.

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“The resulting funds could be used to establish or maintain local recreational facilities, jogging paths and the like, [State Rep. Edith] Ajello [D, Providence] said.”
Really? Red ink as far as the eye can see. Public pension fund woefully underfunded. And we’re going to divert the piddley revenue from this completely misguided tax to jogging paths??

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

Monique, yes of course they will. Just like when we instituted the lottery, all that money would be earmarked for education. And just like when RI got their share of the tobacco settlement, that money would be spent on smoking cessation programs.
See, you can totally trust our state government!

John
John
11 years ago

I can just see it now. Every city/town park will be adding a coke machine that ONLY sells sugar added beverages. It will be called a “Property Tax Relief Station.”
What a bunch of maroons!

michael
michael
11 years ago

And everybody not wearing sunscreen will face an additional tax while jogging “unprotected.”

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