Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery plans to sponsor another measure that would end the Nebraska sales tax exemption for soda pop, which Avery says is illogical and indefensible
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery plans to sponsor another measure that would end the Nebraska sales tax exemption for soda pop, which Avery says is illogical and indefensible.
Current law categorizes soda as a food, and therefore it is not taxed at the 7 percent rate as other grocery products. Avery said soft drinks have no nutritional value and so don't belong in the same tax-exempt category as food.
"There is no way the state should subsidize this industry," he said.
Avery filed a similar bill last year that didn't reach the floor for debate, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/UReFv5 ) reported. Supporters of ending the soda tax exemption say they are better organized this year. They have reframed the language, saying it addresses a soda "subsidy" instead of a "tax."
It's estimated that ending the exemption would bring the state about $11 million in new sales tax revenue. Many nutritionists say soda consumption contributes to obesity.
Avery's proposal would funnel 70 percent of the new revenue into school wellness programs and data collection, and 30 percent into local health departments for health-related issues.
Only 16 states do not apply a sales tax to soda pop. Critics argue that Nebraska residents will go to Wyoming, the only border state that doesn't tax pop, to buy cheaper soft drinks.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com
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