Colorado gov.’s plan to tax soda and candy gets cheers, jeers |

Colorado gov.’s plan to tax soda and candy gets cheers, jeers

Tim Hoover
The Denver Post

For Libertarians, it is a step toward social engineering.

But to Gov. Bill Ritter, a proposal to tax candy and soda-pop sales is nothing more than a way to help close a widening budget gap.

Regardless of the motivation, if Ritter’s idea is adopted next year by the legislature, Colorado would become one of a growing number of states and localities going after candy bars and soft drinks.

And, like cigarettes and liquor before them, sweet treats would achieve a special status as items whose consumption is discouraged by the very governments that become dependent on the revenue they provide.

Ritter’s office estimates that eliminating the sales-tax exemption for candy and soft drinks would generate $17.9 million and help avoid deeper cuts to schools and colleges.

“We thought that people would be willing to pay 3 cents on a dollar candy bar,” said Ritter, who once spent three years running a nutrition center in Zambia before resuming his law career. “We just viewed it (allowing the sales tax) as something that doesn’t do anything to our (state’s) competitiveness.”

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