posted by [personal profile] dadiceguy at 03:18pm on 13/03/2009 under
Let's tax caffeine, legislator argues
New revenues ยป Cigarettes are taxed, why not soda pop?


By Robert Gehrke

Updated:03/12/2009 03:04:40 PM MDT


Have a Coke and a tax.

That's what Rep. Craig Frank wants his colleagues in the Legislature to consider.

Frank, R-American Fork, has asked lawmakers over the next year to study the potential for taxing caffeine, a response to proposals this session to hike the tax on cigarettes - all of which failed.

Frank said his intent initially was just to target caffeinated sodas and other cold beverages, but he has decided to look at the substance more broadly.

"Some feel [the cigarette tax is] a tax on those who are addicted to a substance that frankly they enjoy [but] we say that's a harmful thing to do.

At the same time, the government is addicted to the fee revenues," said Frank. "So in light of that, if we're really going to find a revenue stream on something addictive, why not cold caffeine?"

His proposal is contained in a master study resolution approved unanimously Thursday by lawmakers.

Frank said he has seen research that caffeine can cause spontaneous abortion, psychological abnormalities and other disorders.

"We're going after people who have problems with addiction for a revenue stream, only caffeine would be one that is more broad-based," said Frank, who calls himself a "social caffeine drinker."

Most of Utah's population and more than 80 percent of the Utah Legislature belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which discourages its members from drinking "hot drinks." Some Mormons have interpreted that to extend beyond coffee and tea to caffeinated beverages.
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