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The sugar tax: A sour idea

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

In his continuing quest to tax anything and everything, in his continuing quest to bail out a woefully underfunded city pension system, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is proposing a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Under the guise of promoting a healthier lifestyle, a 20-ounce soda would cost an additional 40 cents. A 12-pack of your favorite 12-ounce sugared drink would run you almost $3 more.

Of course, the tax, similar to one being proposed in Philadelphia and which would require state legislative approval, is thick and sticky with dichotomies and hypocrisies.

Mr. Ravenstahl says Pittsburgh "continues to seek policies that encourage our residents to maintain a healthy lifestyle." Well, Mr. Mayor, if you really were concerned about that, you'd stop trying to tax the city back to prosperity.

And how sad it is that a pol would propose a tax supposedly to help people but secretly hope they just keep ponying up the tax to bail out a pension system that, by design, is not sustainable and has been the victim of a string of mayoral administrations' gross derelictions of duty.

Another tax is just another thing to make Pittsburgh, still in state receivership, less attractive to those who do or are considering doing business in Pittsburgh.

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