A pair of recent polls has shown that there may be a growing tension between people’s desire to pay fewer taxes and their aspirations to live healthier lives.
Earlier this month, an Adweek/Harris Poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that 56 percent of Americans oppose a tax on soft drinks, and interpreted the result as suggesting that it reflects Americans’ weariness of new taxes. It also appeared to illustrate people’s displeasure at the idea that the government can use taxes to dictate what they eat or drink.
"They see the tax for what it is—a money grab to pay for more government. It’s time for lawmakers to bury this ill-conceived tax once and for all," said Kevin Keane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Beverage Association.
However, a different poll, recently conducted in Philadelphia, found that 55 percent of likely voters in that city would support a tax of 2 cents per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages, if funding was dedicated to support programs to combat childhood obesity.
"Childhood obesity is an epidemic in Philadelphia and across the country," said Andrew Hysell, project director for the Campaign for Healthy Kids, which commissioned the survey.
He added that "today’s children could be the first generation in United States history to live sicker and die younger than their parents’ generation," and that "the majority of Philadelphia voters support the sugar-sweetened beverage tax as part of a public health policy to combat the childhood obesity epidemic."