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End Soda and Candy Tax Exemption to Improve Health

A letter to the editor regarding the the soda and candy tax-exempt status submitted by Toby Fisher, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association.

Dear Editor: 

The rate of childhood obesity is growing to critically high levels. Much of this is from the excessive consumption of sweets and soda. Currently, soda and candy are grouped in the same category as food, and are exempt from sales tax. As a leader of prevention and wellness, the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) supports the proposal by the governor, legislators, and other community advocates to end the sales tax exemption on candy and soda. This legislation aims to invest the revenue raised from the end of the exemptions into the state’s Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund. Not only is this good public policy, Massachusetts residents will have a financial incentive to buy non-taxed, healthier foods over soft drinks and sweets, leading to a healthier Massachusetts.

Sincerely,

Toby Fisher

Executive Director

Massachusetts Public Health Association

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Uncle Sam March 02, 2013 at 04:14 AM
Tax and spend! Tax and spend!
I love kittens March 02, 2013 at 04:32 AM
All this time that I've been buying soda and candy, I had no idea that they weren't taxed! Teaching healthy portions and watching frequency of eating these portions would be a better way to grow healthy habits. Positive reinforcement is a good teaching tool. I can imagine adding a tax will now cause problems with vending machine use. They would give change in pennies.
Fullmer March 02, 2013 at 10:57 AM
I like tax and spend
Jeanne M. Lemieux March 02, 2013 at 12:45 PM
I agree soda, candy, junk food can put on the weight. But I feel the biggest problem for child obesity is that their just not outside doing the activities once done years ago. Baseball, tag, hide and seek, kick the ball, hop scotch, flag football, I can go on and on. The biggest problem are all those little hand held toys and etc. Not only they cause lack of activity they also cause the child to lose social skills.
joseph mcgruff March 09, 2013 at 04:49 AM
Childhood obesity = bad parenting. Plain as that. Candy, soda & junk food have been around forever...probably doesn't help that video games, facebook and iphones are the new 'outdoor activities' for our youth. Get a grip already. Shhhh don't tell anyone that Paul's, MacD's, Papa Gino's, DDs, the 99, Burton's, 5 guys, Kimballs, all serve MEALS worse than ANY candy or soda...

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