How would a beverage tax impact Rhode Island?
Beverage taxes would hurt working families, small businesses and employees the most.
- This is not just a tax on soda. Hard-working Rhode Islanders will struggle to afford common grocery items such as sugar-sweetened beverages including flavored coffee drinks, sports drinks, teas, sodas, energy drinks, lemonades, kombuchas, flavored waters, certain fruit drinks – even frozen lemonade and coffee syrup.
- Costs are rising for working families in Rhode Island. Inflation, supply chain issues, and the price of gas are making everyday items more expensive. A beverage tax will increase the cost of common grocery items for working families who cannot afford it.
- Local businesses have worked hard to recover from the challenges of the pandemic. A large tax on beverages is another burden placed on businesses and would lead to job losses and higher prices.
- This tax could impact more than 4,200 workers and lead to a loss of at least $100 million in annual retail and restaurant sales.
If passed, many residents will drive across the state border to shop tax-free in Connecticut and Massachusetts; this will only hurt Rhode Island businesses and deprive the state of revenue.
The state has a significant budget surplus after receiving historic levels of federal funding. The last place the legislature should look for revenue to fund programs is a tax that will hurt working families and endanger small businesses.
BOTTOM LINE: Rhode Island working families, small businesses and employees cannot afford a costly new tax.