in Houston, Texas
Texas state Sen. Eddie Lucio’s proposed soda tax 6 times the tax on same amount of beer
Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011, 12:03PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
soda cans

State Sen. Eddie Lucio has a tax for you, but he wants you to know it’s for your own good. Aren’t all taxes?

Every time you pop the tab on that icy cold Barq’s root beer think how much better it will taste paying the state 12 cents more to drink it, should the Legislature approve the new soda tax proposed by Lucio, D-Brownsville, according to today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Lucio makes a half-hearted pass at childhood obesity and the health care-related costs, excuses other states have used to passed soft drink taxes. However, Lucio says he thinks everyone ought to pay more for their soda, not so much so that we’ll all be in the pink, but because of the terrible fiscal fix he and his fellow legislators are in here in Austin. The soda tax could raise $2 billion a year.

"There are solutions to the budget mess we find ourselves in which do not involve making drastic cuts to vital services," Lucio said. "The Texas Legislature should be exploring these solutions."

The story also trots out an array of experts surmising and supposing on health and tax benefits, issues that have been raised in the past, and a critic who thinks Lucio and his colleagues ought to focus on spending less rather than on creative new ways to raise revenue.

Texas Watchdog wonders why Lucio is not considering raising state taxes on alcohol, arguably a much more serious and costly health problem in Texas. For whatever reason, the Legislature has not raised taxes on liquor, wine and beer since 1984.

The state tax on beer is 19.4 cents a gallon, or 1.82 cents a 12-ounce can, compared to the 12 cents Lucio is asking for the same sized-can of soda, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The tax on liquor is $2.40 a gallon or 2.8 cents for a typical 1.5 ounce shot poured in the local watering spot. Wine is a veritable bargain, taxed at 41 cents a gallon or about 8 cents a bottle, corked or screw-off cap.

Texas Watchdog, collectively, enjoys its cocktails far too much to be suggesting a bigger donation to the state for the privilege of drinking. Far from it. And we know very well why liquor taxes haven’t been raised in nearly 30 years.

For the same reason Sen. Lucio would rather take his chances on whether there is a soda lobby. The one for liquor everyone knows about.
 
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Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of vintage Sprite cans by flickr user Roadsidepictures, used via a Creative Commons license.
Comments
Lane
Tuesday, 03/15/2011 - 03:00PM

There are blind entrepreneurs that operate vending facilities in this great state without the help of federal or state tax money and they sell sodas in their machines. With the money they make they provide a life for themselves and their families. This proposed tax will adversely affect their income. Senator Eddie Lucio thinks it is a good idea to steal from the blind.

postive move
Friday, 03/25/2011 - 04:14PM

Lane, do you hate children? Essentially soda is kills kids. The liquid calories consumed in the United States are a driving force behind the obesity epidemic that not only impacts the pocket book of individuals, but also the state, and the nation. Chronic diseases such as diabetes are crippling Americans and the American economy. Instituting a tax on an unhealthy non essential substance, like soda is a great way to support the programs such as unfunded state mandates to prevent obesity.

Gold Star Senator Lucio.

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