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Tax of 1 cent per teaspoon of sugar urged for beverages

By Associated Press


Four Hawaii lawmakers have proposed a statewide tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The Democratic senators said the consumption of sugary drinks contributes to obesity.

The senators want to charge 1 cent per teaspoon of sugar in each drink and use the revenue to fund community health centers and help trauma victims. They say the tax would translate to about 10 cents per 12-ounce soda.

Sen. Russell Ruderman (D, Puna), who co-sponsored the bill, said he anticipates opposition from consumers.

Despite the title of the bill, which includes the word "taxation," Ruderman said the bill is a fee, not a tax, because Hawaii residents can choose whether or not to buy sugary drinks.

Senate Minority Leader Rep. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Kahala-Hawaii Kai), the only Republican in the state's 25-person Senate, said he opposes the bill.

"It has nothing to do with obesity," he said. "It's a money grab by the state government."

Slom added that the bill diverts attention from more pressing fiscal and economic issues. He said the bill imposes on individual choice and that parents are responsible for deciding what their children drink.

House Majority Leader Scott Saiki (D, Downtown-Kakaako-McCully) said he isn't sure the bill will find support in the House. While sugary drinks carry health risks, the House will be cautious about enacting broad-based taxes this session, he said.

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what wrote:
The four lawmakers who proposed this tax are enemies of Freedom and the American Way. I don't drink much sugary drinks, but when I do, I shouldn't be assaulted by greedy and tyrannical tax terrorists.
on January 25,2013 | 12:37AM
FluidMotion wrote:
Agreed. Where does it end. These mindless stiffs just proposed THE SUGAR TAX. Let's not allow this.
on January 25,2013 | 04:06AM
poidragon wrote:
This is just another way for the State to 'squeeze more money' from it's citizens, as Gov Abercrombie continues to show just how willing he is to spend 'money the state does not have!' Claiming that it is 'a mean's to fight Obesity in Hawaii' is just to cover and gloss over, Neil's unwillingness to 'listen to reason, or do the right thing' as the State's economic forecasts have painted a 'bleak and troubling' fiscal future; so instead he 'say's one thing and does something completely different' to try and throw off the public and trick them into re-electing him to another term in office! YOU SUCK, Neil!!!!!!!!!!
on January 25,2013 | 01:48PM
omd111 wrote:
The Health Department lead by FUDDY can't even do the bottle redemption correctly and now they want more money from the taxpayers? FORGET IT! Get rid of Fuddy and her daughter and other incompetents in the Health Department and we have that much more money for the citizens of the Hawaii.
on January 25,2013 | 03:53AM
sailfish1 wrote:
Is there really 10 teaspoons of sugar in 12 ounces of soda? That doesn't seem right.
on January 25,2013 | 04:21AM
kennie1933 wrote:
There's about 39-40 grams of sugar in a typical 12 oz. soda like Coke, and 1 teaspoon of sugar is about 4 grams, so the math is pretty accurate. I'm sure you've seen the Augie Tulba commercial where he is downing packets of sugar while the girl drinking a soda next to him is giving stink eye. The message was that you wouldn't down 10 packets of sugar like Augie, but you would drink it in a soda?
on January 25,2013 | 12:54PM
lee1957 wrote:
I'mglad we have such concerned lawmakers that they are looking out for our best interest.
on January 25,2013 | 04:29AM
GWakai02 wrote:
Just another scheme to part the consumer and his hard earned cash. High cigarette tax, bottle redemption, sugar tax, where does it all end? Why don't we just pass a convenience or luxury tax for all residence, for the privilege of living in our Aloha State? Soon everyone will be below the poverty level and on some sort of government assistant. That would go well with our present administration's socialist agenda.
on January 25,2013 | 04:39AM
bender wrote:
The lxuury tax is the Jones Act.
on January 25,2013 | 06:18AM
GWakai02 wrote:
Correction: Make that..."government assistance"....
on January 25,2013 | 04:42AM
LittleEarl_01 wrote:
"Ruderman said the bill is a fee, not a tax." A tax by any other name, is still a tax.
on January 25,2013 | 05:13AM
bender wrote:
So who were the other 3 Senators who co-sponsored the bill? We are so lucky to live in the land of the fee.
on January 25,2013 | 06:17AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
That is some mighty fine reporting there SA! At least they told us what substance these mystery men were intent on taxing, so that's something.
on January 25,2013 | 06:51AM
aionokea43 wrote:
Who are the four senators that are in favor of this bill? I totally agree with Senator Slom that obesity is an education and enforcement by parents, not the government. Obesity is akin to pre-school education - it is the responsibility of the parents for pre-school education and not for the government to provide another money grab program. The Governor cannot settle the matter with HSTA and he wants pre-school education? Many hard working parents hold two to three jobs to provide pre-school education for their children and these parents would be excluded because of their income. This is another attempt to provide for those parents who have children not knowing the responsibilities of raising a child. Auwe to the Governor and the 4 Senators who want to tax sugary products. It is not a tax, a fee? Who is he kidding?
on January 25,2013 | 06:32AM
gsr wrote:
Will there be a tax on Coke Zero? How will they define sugar? Oh it tastes sweet must be sugar...better to tax grease - maybe a freedom fry tax.
on January 25,2013 | 06:52AM
olos73 wrote:
@gsr, they think consumers are dumb. They going charge every 12 oz. can or whatever and if sugar content is less than what they propose, they think consumers just going pay and not say anything.
on January 25,2013 | 08:36AM
olos73 wrote:
Maybe better just go to a restaurant where you get free refills and drink all you like. Cannot put a "fee or tax" on free.
on January 25,2013 | 07:19AM
localguy wrote:
Another shibai money grab by bureaucrats. Remember years ago when HI joined the tobacco lawsuit, telling us over and over all proceeds would go to stop smoking and welfare programs? They were not honest with us, in no time diverting the settlement money to their personal projects. This will be no different. Knowing they can't raise taxes they throw this at us to cover their pet projects. If they were serious and smart, NOT, they would go after all high sugar items. Also fail to realize kids today are not as active as back in the 60s and 70s. Bureaucrats think they have to do something, even when they haven't got a clue what to do. In this case, there is no need to do anything. Parents can control what children drink, adults make their own choices. Bureaucrats want a "Nanny State" where they dictate control over all of us. Time to tell these bureaucrats to mind their own business.
on January 25,2013 | 07:53AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Excellent post localguy! “Bureaucrats think they have to do something, even when they haven't got a clue what to do.” LOL cuz dat sums it up! Happy Aloha Friday.
on January 25,2013 | 09:38AM
LadyNinja wrote:
This is a waste of time and huge burden on us. Hawaii is already taxed to the max. It should be our perogative if we want to drink soda or not. Weight is an issue then let the individual pay for it, not another freebie. All of the ones who would most benefit would be the unemployment and welfare ones. Are they gonna take funds from this area and pass it on to us in terms of another ridiculous tax burden? Common, give us a break!!! BTW: who are the stupid four senators?
on January 25,2013 | 08:20AM
gth wrote:
My thoughts exactly. Let's kick the ones out who proposed for this and who will vote for it.
on January 25,2013 | 11:44AM
olos73 wrote:
Ketchup is high in sugar. They going charge 1-cent per squirt?
on January 25,2013 | 09:19AM
Waterman2 wrote:
Kinda ironic no ? All the jobs in sugar we lost due to high union wages running us out of the world market and now we gotta tax sugar to continue to support union wages in out gov. Sick system we endure.
on January 25,2013 | 09:44AM
kaleboy wrote:
Government needs to stay out of our business, whats next? Taxing what we eat.
on January 25,2013 | 10:05AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
"The Democratic senators said the consumption of sugary drinks contributes to obesity." Fact: All foods can contribute to obesity if one consumes more calories than what one expends.Why stop there? Why not tax hamburgers and fries as they are just as much a source of calories that contributes to obesity? Our government is getting out of hand here. We need to write to our legislators and tell them enough is enough. No matter how much you tax sugary drinks people who consume irresponsibly will still consume irresponsibly. The end result is that we all pay for the problem even though we are responsible with our own consumption. This is outrageous and is just another excuse for a money grab.
on January 25,2013 | 10:53AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
To the Star Advertiser: I, and others, would like to know the names of all the other senators who are behind this bill. This information is very pertinent to the issue at hand and would appreciate at a revison to include such information. I would like to contact these senators and I am sure that many would like to also. Thank you.
on January 25,2013 | 11:00AM
Tarakian wrote:
Please no new tax!
on January 25,2013 | 12:00PM
Tarakian wrote:
Sam Slom, lone wolf howling in the wind (wind of democrats). Hang in there Sam, we need your sense and sensibilities!
on January 25,2013 | 12:03PM
hilopango wrote:
This is ridiculous. Why stop at sugar in drinks? There's sugar in cereal, candy bars, juices...pretty much everything we consume has some sort of sugar in it. Food consumption is a personal choice. Put more money into helping the teachers educate the children about sugar consumption. And while you're at it, forbid the purchase of sodas, candy, and chips with EBT cards. Taxpayers should not be paying for someone else to have junk food, if you're on EBT and want junk food, pay for it yourself!
on January 25,2013 | 12:41PM
kennie1933 wrote:
Exactly! If we taxed everything bad for us, they should include meat (char siu, roast pork....), all candies, breads (especially white)....pretty much everything we eat, or OVER eat specifically. Schools presently have something called the wellness policy where items such as candy are now banned for sale. But, students simply save their money and go to the store after school and buy all the junk they want. The key IS education, not denial. If you have a child and do not allow him to eat chocolate, but don't tell him why it can be bad, the first time someone else lets him try a piece, he might go crazy and eat a whole box. To me, it would be better to tell him why it can be bad to overindulge, but allow a treat every now and then.
on January 25,2013 | 01:01PM
jussayin wrote:
More TAXES! Geez.
on January 25,2013 | 04:32PM
st1d wrote:
prediction: companies that now pass off products as sugar will classify them as corn syrup or other syrups to avoid being taxed.

suggestion to staradv: please include bill numbers when writing about legislative issues. helps us research bills and their progress through the legislature.

on January 25,2013 | 05:45PM
agumakiki wrote:
I agree with Rep. S. Slom, there are more better things/issues to be decided on instead of more fees/taxes. So who are these four lawmakers?
on January 26,2013 | 12:02AM
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