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Tuesday, February 1, 2011
No Hawaii Beverage Tax: “Leave our grocery budget alone”
By News Release @ 5:22 PM :: 6076 Views :: Energy, Environment


The people of Hawaii are making ends meet in this difficult economy. Yet some politicians in Honolulu are considering a new tax that singles out soft drinks and other beverages. Now is not the right time to raise taxes on hard-working families.

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. Adding to our tax burden now is a bad idea. With high unemployment and a lagging economy, lawmakers should focus on policies that promote business and grow jobs.

We said no to a soda tax last year – and we say no again this year. Singling out sodas, teas, sports drinks and other beverages for a tax is discriminatory and regressive. It will hurt the most those who can least afford it.

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.

Tell the legislators that government should trim its own budget and leave our grocery budgets alone.

* * *


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 is 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 hits the hardest at those who can least afford it.
Middle- and lower- income families are struggling as it is now to make ends meet. They are already stretching their grocery dollars to keep up with bills. During tough times like our current circumstances, adding a new tax will hurt these families the most.

New taxes don’t teach healthy lifestyles.
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.

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.

*  *  *

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.




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