A recent poll shows that Massachusetts residents seem to be fine with taxes on soda and candy as long as the tax revenue goes to healthy causes.
The Boston Foundation, the largest public charity in New England, teamed up with other groups to commission a poll about how voters feel about taxing soda and candy if that money is used to support local programs aimed at reducing obesity in children. The results of the poll showed that 69 percent of those surveyed support the tax, as long as the money goes to the aforementioned obesity-reducing programs.
The poll also showed that once you remove the stipulation that the tax revenues would be used for healthy programs, support for the tax falls. When asked if they would support the sales tax on soda and candy without limits on how the revenue could be used, Massachusetts residents were evenly split with 49 percent in favor and 49 percent opposed to the plan.
Currently, soda and candy are off limits from Massachusetts sales tax eligibility as food is exempt from taxation in the Bay State. Earlier this year Boston Mayor Thomas Menino embarked on a plan to ban the sale and advertisement of sugary drinks on city property.
The Boston Globe reports that, “State health officials estimate that more than half of all adults and nearly one-third of children in middle school and high school are overweight or obese.” The same report also states that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has tried unsuccessfully for three years to expand that state’s sales tax to soda and candy. Now, with these new poll numbers it will be interesting to see if the fourth time is the charm.