February 7, 2018-
A proposal in the Arizona House that would bar cities and counties from joining a growing national trend of taxing sugary drinks got a glowing reception Wednesday. The proposal from Republican Rep. T.J. Shope of Coolidge advanced in the House Ways and Means Committee on an 8-1 vote, and even the lone Democrat who voted against the measure said she supported it but voted against it only because of concerns from her constituents. Shope’s proposal doesn’t specifically mention taxes on sugary drinks, only saying any tax on food products must be uniform. But testimony from a supermarket industry lobbyist made it clear that’s what the bill is all about.
Tim McCabe of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance said it’s not government’s role to use taxes to influence consumer behavior. “We just can’t let government use tax rates to pick winners and losers in foods and beverages in what we consume today, and to have them try to influence consumers of what they deem to be a good or a bad food,” McCabe said.