updated 2/3/2004 2:20:43 PM ET 2004-02-03T19:20:43

Apparently unsatiated by their huge claims on booze and cigarettes, the tax police are planning a major snack attack. Potato chips, cookies, sodas, candy--a $30 billion-a-year business--are being targeted by more than a dozen revenue-starved states under the misguided impression that by charging a few extra cents per can or bag they can trim their budget deficits and encourage the rest of us to slim down. Fat chance. Among the assaults:

NEW YORK plans a new sales tax (one-quarter of 1%) on sweets and snacks, on top of a bill to ban the sale of junk food from vending machines in public schools. The resulting $50 million a year would fund programs to fight childhood obesity.

WASHINGTON State's SB 5928 would lift the sales-tax exemption for candy, aiming to raise $40 million a year.

Legislators in ARKANSAS defeated a bill to add a 1% sales tax on junk food, which would have added up to $14 million a year to fund K-12 education, but it's far from dead.

VERMONT'slawmakers tried to raise $5 million for education by adding a 6% sales tax to snack foods. The bill died, but legislators are talking about reviving the idea of a snack tax.

A plan in NEBRASKA to extend the state's 5.5% sales tax to snack foods and baked goods flamed out last year, but supporters hope to bring it back as a way to raise an extra $5 million.

© 2012


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