With city and state coffers running out of money and with a national obesity rate at around 33 percent, a tax on junk food may seem like a win-win – a way to both generate revenue and promote health.
Nevada Assemblyman Harvey Munford has proposed a bill that he believes would accomplish both of those objectives. He says that by adding a five cent tax to junk food purchases, the government will play a role in protecting people’s health.
“The government tells people what they think is best for them,” says Munford. “Seat belts, texting while driving, you’ve got to have car insurance. There’s all kind of laws in place to dictate human behavior.”
Justin Wilson Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom says that the government can play a role in educating consumers, without resorting to legislating behavior.
“There is a mile of difference between reminding people to eat healthy and forcing them with the power of the government to do so,” says Wilson. “The government does do things like require people to wear seatbelts. There is no one who says wearing a seat belt is costing them money. In this case, we’re costing families lots of money.”
Munford hasn’t presented his bill to the legislature yet and says he’s receptive to changes to the bill.
“We do not go into session until February. This is an early proposal,” says Munford. “I’m still going to present it but I’m open for input. The power rests with the people.”
What do you think should be included in the assemblyman’s bill? Leave your comments below.