More creative taxation ideas, combined with the impulse for the government to make us better:
An Illinois lawmaker says parents who have obese children should lose their state tax deduction.
“It’s the parents’ responsibility that have obese kids,” said state Sen. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga. “Take the tax deduction away for parents that have obese kids.”
Cultra has not introduced legislation to deny parents the $2,000 standard tax deduction, but he floated the idea Tuesday, when lawmakers took a shot at solving the state’s obesity epidemic.
With one in five Illinois children classified as obese and 62 percent of the state’s adults considered overweight, health advocates are pushing a platter of diet solutions including trans fat bans and restricting junk food purchases on food stamps.
Today, the Senate Public Health Committee considered taxing sugary beverages at a penny-per-ounce, in effect applying the same theory to soda, juices and energy drinks that governs to liquor sales. Health advocates say a sin tax could discourage consumption, but lawmakers are reluctant to target an industry supports the jobs of more than 40,000 Illinoisans.
“It seems like we just, we go after the low-hanging fruit, where its easy to get,” said state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford. He said the state needs to form a comprehensive plan to address physical fitness and disease prevention, rather than taking aim at sugary drinks.
What do you think about extending the principle of the “sin tax”–currently levied at alcohol and tobacco–to “sugary” soft drinks? (Is obesity, let alone smoking and drinking, an actual sin?) Or to taxing parents for having overweight children? Are the parents sinning and in need of punishment? Should the tax code be used to police the behavior and choices of citizens?