The idea of a tax on sugary drinks has gained new visibility in the election campaign as Hilary Clinton endorsed such a proposal being put forward for Philadelphia to fund universal prekindergarten. Bernie Sanders, though, says that he is opposed because of the tax’s regressivity according to reporting by the New York Times.
In a Citizen Cabinet survey of 6,949 registered voters conducted this last fall a majority of 54 percent endorsed a tax on sugary drinks when making up their proposed Federal budget for 2017. However the level of the tax they endorsed was just a half cent per ounce (6 cents for a 12-ounce can) – considerably less than the 3 cents being proposed in Philadelphia. Only small minorities in the Citizen Cabinet survey were ready to go even as high as 1 cent.
Interestingly, some of the highest levels of support came from Sanders supporters who endorsed a half cent an ounce tax by an overwhelming 71 percent. Clinton supporters were not far behind at 65 percent. Just under half of Trump supporters (47 percent) concurred, while only one in four Cruz supporters adopted the beverage tax.
Overall support was especially high among Democrats with 65 percent endorsing it. Forty four percent of Republicans agreed.
A tax on sugary drinks, though, was not one of the more popular measures respondents used when making up their budget. Two thirds, including a majority of Republicans, raised taxes on incomes over $200,000 by five percent. Three quarters of both parties eliminated the special provision for hedge fund managers in favor of taxing carried interest as ordinary income. Large bipartisan majorities favored a fee on uninsured debt for large banks. Raising the tax on capital gains and dividends got 65 percent support, including 50 percent of Republicans.
In California, a recent Field poll found 68 percent of Californians in support of a tax on sugary drinks as a means to fund school nutrition and physical activity programs. Repeated efforts to introduce such legislation in California have failed in the face of intense beverage industry opposition.
For more information about the Citizen Cabinet survey see: VOP.org Budget Survey Results
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