GUEST COMMENTARY | Reasons to Vote ‘No’ on ‘Soda Tax’
by Ginny Gordon
Oct 24, 2013 | 1485 views | 1 1 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For years Telluride has proudly carried the banner of a protector of civil liberties and the promoter of personal responsibility.  The sugary drink tax is the antithesis of these core values.  It is a big brother assault that is capricious and arbitrary.  The food fascists are determined to protect you from yourself.  Today it is sugary drinks, tomorrow it may be any of a thousand things.  

The implication is that the masses (at least those of us in Telluride) are unable to take personal responsibility for the dietary well being of ourselves and our families.  Citizens of Telluride don’t be led down this path!  As worthy as the funding goals may be, this ill conceived tax is not the way to achieve them.  Kick the Can is NOT a local grass roots movement.   It is a well financed national organization that is pouring thousands of dollars into an orchestrated campaign here in Telluride.  They are looking for a poster child/guinea pig.   

We are all aware that our country has an obesity problem and that our food choices and over-consumption are at fault.  However the Telluride sugary drink tax will do nothing to change this.  People will either pay the tax or buy these products elsewhere.  

 If the stated purpose of this sugary drink tax is to significantly reduce the consumption of these products over time by increasing their price, then the funding for their programs will dry up as well.  The real goal of the promoters of this tax is to secure a permanent dedicated source of funding for their specific programs.  If these programs have value to our community, let’s find a way to fund them through existing revenue, as we do with all others.

The State of Colorado does not tax groceries but already does tax candy and soda.  Many municipalities have chosen not to tax groceries.  Telluride however imposes their tax on all food including sugary drinks, and thereby generates thousands of tax dollars annually.  The people of Telluride are already paying a premium for living and shopping here.

The penny per ounce sounds like a small number but it can often amount to a 20 percent or more tax depending on the product and its cost.  Take for example Country Time Lemonade at Village Market.  The product costs $4.29 but the sugar tax alone will be $2.56 because the tax is calculated on the total ounces once the product is mixed with water.

Let’s not establish a precedent for a sales tax on certain targeted items for targeted projects.  It’s a bad precedent and a bad idea.  Let these projects compete for available funding along with all of the other worthy programs that this community supports.  

Please consider the big picture and vote NO on 2A.

- Ginny Gordon

P.S.  The accounting burden on our retailers and restaurants is significant and should not be ignored.  The ordinance is 12 pages long and the process of compliance is complex.  This tax will create more red tape, bureaucratic burden and expense for small business.  That alone is a reason to vote no.
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October 25, 2013
Ginny, My business will not comply , what are the penalties for non compliance ?

I voted no,please vote no too.