Kris Hunt, Executive Director, Contra Costa Taxpayers Association | September 1, 2012
As we enter the season of relentless political ads, the measure dubbed the “Richmond Soda Tax” serves as a good example of what happens when the media meets proponents of a measure and their consultants. Reality often has no major role in the game of politics. Instead, staking out your position first and having great sound bites can make the difference in winning the modern war of words and images.
The Richmond Soda Tax includes all the elements needed to attract the kind of media coverage that is critical to the success of a measure. The initial argument focused on the impact of soda on childhood obesity and how this “tax” would deter consumption of dreaded sugary drinks. The proceeds from this “tax” would be used to fight childhood obesity through a laundry list of well-intended options. This sounded like the perfect “sin tax” and the bonus was that it was “for the children.” The press ran with it, but as with so many things in the law (and politics), the devil is in the details. Read more