Have a Heart for Kids Day 2020

House is smart to tax candy; soda should be next

Anonymous (not verified) 02/26/10


The House has made the right move by proposing a tax on candy and gum. Our state loses out on more than $40 million in revenue every year because these sweets are exempt from state sales tax.

Given the economic problems we face, we simply can’t afford to subsidize candy bars and other sweets that have little or no nutritional value, rot children’s teeth, and are contributing to a steady rise in childhood obesity rates. It isn’t right that toothpaste is taxed, and not candy.

We applaud the House tax plan’s pledge to use candy and gum revenue to support children’s dental care. We urge the Senate to do the same by fully protecting highly effective prevention programs that will save us money in the long run.

We also urge the House and Senate to tax soda, which is included in a bill introduced today. As members of the Rebuilding Our Economic Future Coalition and the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, the Children's Alliance supports House
Bill 3204, which would close the sales tax exemption on candy, gum and bakery items, and impose a penny-per-ounce tax on soda and other carbonated drinks, among other measures.

“Food nourishes. Candy and soda pop don’t – and consuming too much of them is driving an increase in serious health problems among kids, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance.  “There’s no reason these sugar-laden products should be exempt from taxes. The revenue from taxing sweets will help preserve basic medical and dental care that keeps kids healthy.”

Last week, we applauded Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposals to tax candy and gum, soda and other carbonated beverages, and end a tax exemption for makers of soda pop syrup.

The governor’s candy and gum tax would raise roughly $28 million – less than our estimate of $44 million for a tax that includes doughnuts and other pastries that are sold where they’re baked. (Our state’s sales tax exempts Twinkies, Ding Dongs and other pre-packaged baked goods containing flour as food.)

Taxing sweets is a common-sense move that should be part of any revenue-raising plan that legislators send to the governor’s desk. With just two weeks left in the session, time is of the essence. Urge your lawmakers to do the right thing by:

  • Imposing a penny-an-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Adding candy, gum and bakery goods to the state’s sales tax
  • Closing the unnecessary tax exemptions for makers of soda pop syrup

– Liz Gillespie