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France approves soda tax and I agree

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 29-12-2011

I hate taxes as much as the next dad, but taxes are sometimes good. They raise prices and change behavior, such as smoking. And often, legislators best efforts to tie taxes to consumer education (anti-smoking campaigns) or health effects (cancer research) are reversed when new legislatures need the cash to fund other pet projects (remember when lotteries were only to be used to fund education?) Often too, they are regressive, affecting poor people disproportionately. Price elasticity is real however, and anything that gets people off the sugar drink habit has to be good. People are still free to drink a Coke now and then, but are de-motivated to drink Coke for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is sometimes the case.

PARIS — France’s top constitutional body on Wednesday approved a new tax on sugary drinks that aims to fight obesity while giving a boost to state coffers.

The Constitutional Council approved the new soda tax, announced in August as part of the government’s fight against obesity and within the framework of a broader austerity programme, after it was passed in parliament last week.

The tax, which works out to one euro cent per can of drink, is expected to bring in 120 million euros ($156 million) in state revenues.

[From AFP: France approves soda tax]

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