Within the past year DC residents have faced tax hikes on their smokes, plastic bags, and now it looks like the DC Council is after their Coca-Cola too. Yes, Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) has proposed a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on bottled and canned soda along with other sugary drinks to pay for her healthy schools initiative. If Cheh’s proposal is successful, beverages classified as soda or sugary drinks would cost $0.68 more per 2-liter and $1.44 more per 12 pack – a more than 30% tax increase in some instances! The council is slated to take a final vote on the issue on May 25 as part of their fiscal 2011 budget.

As the No DC Beverage Tax coalition points out, regressive soda taxes hit hardest those that are least able to afford it. Furthermore, heavily taxed DC residents already work an average of 224 days a year before they have earned enough gross income to pay their share of the spending and regulatory burden imposed by government on the federal and local levels. This also comes at a time when DC taxpayers and employers are trying to cope with the $670 billion in higher taxes passed by Congress in just the past year. Adding another punitive soda tax will only make matters worse. Instead of trying to raise taxes, the Council should first try to identify and cut areas of waste, fraud, and abuse. A good place to start is DC Council members' exorbitant salaries. In fact, ATR has already pointed out how Cheh could actually fund her healthy schools initiative by cutting taxes.

ATR urges that you make your voice heard today – to sign the petition expressing opposition to Cheh's soda tax, Click Here.