Nebraskans Could Pay More to Pop a Top

Meghan Matthews

Nebraskans Could Pay More to Pop a Top

By Meghan Matthews. CREATED Jan 7, 2013

In an effort to help curb obesity in Nebraska, soda-pop might not get a free ride down the grocery aisle anymore.

"There is no reason why the state of Nebraska should be subsidizing the sugar, sweet and beverage industry."

In Nebraska soft drinks are considered a food, exempting them from state sales tax at the grocery store.

Senator Bill Avery says it's time to eliminate what he calls a soda "subsidy".

"In Nebraska, you have to have a good reason to exempt anything from the sales tax. I know a lot of people who say well everything ought to be exempt. If you're gonna have a sales tax it has to be a rational one and exemptions have to be justifiable, this is not a justifiable exemption."
 
Avery says adding seven cents to the dollar on pop could raise more than $11 million in one year alone.
 
Cash that would go to wellness programs in public schools to help reduce childhood obesity.
 
"It's over 30% in Nebraska statewide."
 
Senator Avery says his bill already has major support from health care professionals.
 
Those who oppose it, say it's just another tax.
 
"It doesn't solve any problem."
 
Milena Hoffmann owns the Red Square in the Old Market where she also sells pop. 
 
Hoffmann says taxing soft drinks might hurt her business and she she doubts it would do what it's intended to do.
 
"How we would fight the child's obesity? You have limit their food intake you have to tell them what to eat. If you eliminate the soda pop what will be next?."