Voices of the Coalition

Hard-working Rhode Islanders are speaking up to voice their opposition to a beverage tax. See below for testimonies offered to the House & Senate Finance Committees.

“Imposing harmful new taxes that will negatively impact our working families, no matter how well intentioned, will provide a devastating blow to those lucky enough to still have a job…we believe that the beverage tax is wrong for our members and wrong for working families across Rhode Island and we urge legislators to reject moving forward with it today.”

Jeffrey Radellaro, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 633

“S.327 would levy a new tax on soft drinks and beverages that Teamsters produce and deliver; inflating prices while at the same time pushing down demand due to a significant increase in costs passed onto consumers. A decrease in sales puts middle-class Teamster jobs at risk and in a time of great economic uncertainty, this is not the right course of action for the State of Rhode Island..”

Sean M. O’Brien, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Join Council 10 New England

“The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is concerned that this tax would be extremely difficult for business to implement due to the varied tax rates based on the differing levels of sugar in different beverages and the uncertainty for retailers where the distributor of the beverage may not have already paid the tax as required. As a result, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is concerned this bill could have a detrimental impact on the business climate.”

Robert D. Goldberg, The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce

“During these challenging times, this new tax will burden families while they are still recovering and need our support.”

Gordon Reid, President of The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, LLC

“Our Cumberland location could potentially lose business as customers only see the increase on the shopping receipt. Right now, no Rhode Island business can afford to lose customers.” 

Susan Budlong, an executive with Warwick-based Dave’s Fresh Marketplace

“This loss of business will certainly result in a loss of jobs which is something the state of Rhode Island cannot afford to let happen…There would never be a good time for this bill to become law but with the Covid crisis this past year, a law like this would devastate local businesses and restaurants who have already been shattered.”

Tracy Clements Anthony, President of locally-owned Clements Marketplace

“The net result of such a tax would negatively impact many of our members. In particular, the retailers and beverage distributors, which are already heavily burdened with regulations and high cost of doing business in Rhode Island, will be detrimentally affected by this legislation. In short, this legislation hurts Rhode Island businesses and ultimately, the Rhode Island consumer.” 

Steven J. Arthurs, President & CEO of the Rhode Island Food Dealers Association

“Rhode Island businesses have struggled to get through a historic economic downturn, and many Rhode Islanders have lost jobs and wages in response. This proposed tax on beverages will hurt working families, supermarkets and other Rhode Island businesses and their employees hardest.”

Lorelei N. Mottese of Wakefern Food Corporation

“We believe Senate Bill No. 327 unfairly stigmatizes and singles out our product, while at the same time it would raise prices for our customers.” 

John Sgambato, Yacht Club Bottling Works in North Providence

“(The beverage tax) would add another unwelcome financial burden to me and my fellow restaurant and small business owners throughout the state.” 

Anastasios, Owner of Tony’s Pizza in Pawtucket

“The tax would be regressive and its cost would be passed onto customers. Rhode Island already has a reputation as an over regulated state, even if not justified.”

Theatre Owners of New England

“An additional tax on sugary drinks will only make it harder for restaurant owners to bring employees back to work and bring the industry back to its feet.”

Rhode Island Hospitality Association

“We are concerned with the tax’s regressive impacts on consumers, especially those least able to afford these additional increase within their family budget.” 

New England Convenience Store & Energy Marketers Association

“The tax would cause lower-income families to pay more. Low-income people have less money to spend on groceries in general, in addition to fewer food and beverage options.” 

National Association of Concessionaires