Here we go again: raising taxes on food

We  have long written here on the issue of taxes on food by the legislature to fund other areas.

This year is no exception to the head rearing of this ugly issue.

Bill Tibbitts of Crossroads Urban Center, an organization advocating for the rights of the poor, says:

Utah Representative Mike “Nuclear” Noel is proposing to double the sales tax on food to fund a cut to property taxes– which will disproportionately benefit large businesses– like one of the nuclear power plants Noel wants to bring to Utah.

Read Nuclear Noel’s bill here:
http://le.utah.gov/~2011/bills/hbillint/hb0072.htm

Nuclear Noel is also a proud supporter of bringing nuclear power plants to Utah:
http://www.mikenoel.com/blog_display.cfm?bid=4DE42D1C-1143-15D5-EB7FF606E942D5A4

Utah is among the few states that charge people to eat.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that in 2009:

  • Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia exempt most food purchased for consumption at home from the state sales tax. South Carolina is the state that most recently eliminated its sales tax on food (effective November 1, 2007).
  • Seven states tax groceries at lower rates than other goods; they are Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Five states — Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota— tax groceries fully but offer credits or rebates offsetting some of the taxes paid on food by some portions of the population. These credits or rebates usually are set at a flat amount per family member. The amounts and eligibility rules vary, but may be too narrow and/or insufficient to give eligible households full relief from sales taxes paid on food purchases.
  • Two states continue to apply their sales tax fully to food purchased for home consumption without providing any offsetting relief for low- and moderate-income families. They are Alabama and Mississippi.

The bottom line is that no one should have to pay extra for what is necessary for survival.  Eating is one of those necessities.  The food tax should be taken away entirely.

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