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New Jersey Governor Considering a Fast Food Sin Tax

Would a Fast Food Sin Tax Be Discriminatory?

New Jersey, home to Atlantic City's gambling and boardwalk, also has a governor who's considering introducing a "sin tax" on fast food as a way to raise money for struggling hospitals. The suggestion, though not a new one as Detroit talked about it in 2005, was conceptualized by Amy Mansue Children's Specialized Hospital. Her idea made a good impression on NJ Gov. Jon S. Corzine but Senate President Richard J. Codey said he'd be against this type of tax and said, "That's a tax on poorer people and people with kids." Consider how this type of tax would affect your lifestyle if it were introduced in your state — whose side would you be on?


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juicylove juicylove 9 years
i didnt know what "sin tax" was so i just quicky looked it up.. and basically its saying that they tax things that are negative like alcohol and cigarettes, and i think thats reasonable. those things dont help anyone. but fast food is all some people can afford and its unfair to tax them for that.
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
While I am not a fan of fast food, I think this "sin tax" is complete BS. It will most definately hurt the poor who eat from the dollar menu out of necessity. If I do go to McDonald's, Wendy's or Arby's, I will generally grab a salad. How does that compare to a Triple Whopper? And how are they going to differentiate between a Sausage and Egg McMuffin at Mac and Don's Supper Club from that of an Eggs Beni plate with hash browns from Perkins or IHOP? Same unhealthy food, the only difference being that one establishment is "fast" while at the other you have to wait for your greasy food. What about high-end steak houses with well-marbled meat served with sides of creamed spinach and cheese-laden au gratin potatoes? Same fatty crapiness, but only the well-heeled can afford to eat at these watering holes. Why, if they tax the poor and the middle class should the wealthy be exempt for the same "sin?" Sorry about the rant, but this issue really gets my thong in a twist. Bottom line, if I want a slider, I am going to have a damn slider. I don't need the government making my choices for me.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
@Kimpossible: I wonder if anyone has thought of how the "sin tax" might help reduce the obesity rate in our country? I mean if it's being taxed do you really think people will eat in these fast food places less frequently? No. As I stated above, NJ has the highest amount of taxes on cigarettes and people are still smoking... I also want to reiterate, as mentioned twice in this thread, everyone is discussing whether we should tax fast food or not -- but no one is even questioning that we don't need another tax, period. Taxes are a way for a government to make money. But there are many other ways to make money -- like by cutting spending.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
There are always other alternatives to fast food, no matter how busy, poor, or as someone else said, uneducated you are. And most of those alternatives are cheaper especially if you plan ahead. I wonder if anyone has thought of how the "sin tax" might help reduce the obesity rate in our country? I mean if it's being taxed do you really think people will eat in these fast food places less frequently? Would it get them to consider other alternatives? I really don't know, I wonder myself if this would have a more positive impact than some are thinking it might?
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
Any Sin Tax is by nature discriminatory, think about what other sin taxes are out there. Tax on cigarettes, alcohol, and other harmful things. These are all things that lower class people consume more than higher class people. These taxes are a way to discourage people from doing harmful things, and also help out the government because they know that there will always be people who are going to do things to themselves that is considered harmful. That is just how a sin tax works. I personally do not have a problem with sin taxes because I am generally not effected by them that often.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Skinny and Lainetm, I agree with your comments. It's funny, how some people look down at others for their choices.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
Personally I feel that taxing fast food is a little targeted. I feel like candy and "convenience store snacks" should also be included. Obesity is a problem, and our hospitals pay the toll on this one. I am for a small tax - especially if it encourages people to make healthier choices!
thorswitch thorswitch 9 years
Because I'm disabled, I can't get out into the kitchen to cook anything myself, and my husband... well, he and cooking don't mix all that well. I have managed to teach him about 5 very basic and fairly quick recipes that are things I can eat repeatedly without getting *too* sick of them, but teaching him to cook much more or anything more complicated just isn't going to work. He has a very hard time following directions - even written-out step-by-step directions with me as a ready resource to ask if he has questions. (And this difficulty is not limited to just cooking, but to most things.) In addition, between working full-time, taking care of me, the dogs and the cat, and doing basic house-keeping stuff, he really don't have all that much time for himself. If we can get fast food, use frozen dinners or even (very rarely) order out from a non-fat food restaurants and given him more time to relax and do things he likes to do, then, yeah, we're going to do that. A tax on fast food would *really* hurt us, though - doing what we are is already pushing it, but there aren't that many other things to cut back on to give him more time, so being able to find alternatives to spending time in the kitchen is important. Our situation isn't the norm, by any sense, but I'm pretty sure we're not the only ones who run into stuff like this. And, as others have noted, we really don't need the government making decisions about what we can or should eat for us. I know it's common to hear about how much more expensive it is to care for fat people because of all our other health risks, but given that we're all supposed to die so much sooner than everyone else, and that everyone who DOES live to a ripe old age is going to cost quite a bit in medical care as their bodies breakdown and they're unable to care for themselves (and their family either can't or won't do it for them), I don't find that much of a justification for taxing fast (or other "bad") foods. We may cost more when before we kick off, but the rest make up for it with old-age care. I would strongly suspect that it actually balances out pretty good in the long run, eh?
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
Lainetm I agree with you understand your busy life.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I don't think sin tax is a great name for it. There are a lot worse sins than fast food in Atlantic City. Gambling is waaaay worse than eating fast food. I think that it's good to tax fast food because it's bad for you. It should be a lot cheaper to buy healthy food. It's the same with cigarettes, they're bad so if you tax them and make them less affordable more people will quit. I like fast food every once in a while but if it were more expensive I'd avoid it and save my health.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Wow, do we have enough judgmental responses here? How many of you holier-than-thou folks have full-time jobs and kids? Here's my Wednesday evening this semester. Tell me what you would do. 3:45 - Off work 40 minute drive to kids' high school 5:15-5:30 - pick up son 25 minute drive home 6:15 - take daughter to evening class (which lasts until 9:30) You have about 20 minutes to serve and eat dinner. Chinese takeout looks pretty good, huh?
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
I do realize that there are a lot of poorer communities in the state, but I want to remind all of you that New Jersey has the largest amount of million dollar homes in the country
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
I think we could all cite numerous exceptions of middle class people eating fast food, but the fact is that this would disproportionally affect the poor. Fast food is usually their only option for substinence in regards to location and accessibility. I used to live next to a poor old man who existed entirely on the selection they had at our 7-11. Middle class couldn't care less about an extra 5 cents or so. They just want their burger so they can be on their way. Its the poor who had to scrounge around for the entire 95 cents for the burger that its going to end up affecting in the long run. They're the ones that will be penalized.
lilegwene lilegwene 9 years
Wow! I hardly ever eat fast food, but I think this tax is an awful idea. The government taxing any sort of food is ridiculous. If people want to eat it they should be allowed to. The government doesn't need to regulate every part of our lives.
jessy777 jessy777 9 years
I think the question is, what is fast food? Do we mean only big chain McDs kind of places. Or a sit down cafe that sells burgers and fries? Is a diner fast food because it has pancakes and hashbrowns? I guess the easiest way would be any food with more than a certain number of calories or fat grams but what would be maximum be? I have never really like the idea of a "sin" tax because it implies a moral decision and is used to disparage people's right to smoke, drink or attend a strip club. I might be more ok if it was called something else, but that is another issue.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
people shouldn't be feeding their kids this in the first place, so i dont think its discriminating against "people with kids" as much as "lazy parents"
BeeMe BeeMe 9 years
It may not be discriminatory on its face, but a fat tax may disproportionately effect poorer people who consume more fast/cheap foods. On the other hand, it may encourage people to eat healthier, encouraging further changes in the way fast food is prepared.
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 9 years
i think it's discriminatory, yeah, there may be cheaper alternatives, like preparing beans or something, but if you're a single mom who has no time, and grabbing stuff from McDonald's might be more plausible than cooking a meal. and, it sucks, and i know it's not eh healthiest for me, but some weeks, i literally have no time to go grocery shopping, let alone cook, and must rely on fast food.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
SkinnyMarie, excellent post!
gooniette gooniette 9 years
Yes, it's a discrimiatory sin tax against lazy people who don't want to take the time to go to the grocery and cook. That doesn't mean I don't support it. The reason fast food companies serve what they do is because there is a high demand for crappy fat-filled food that tastes good. If people asked for healthier options from these fast food places, they would supply them.
mjane79 mjane79 9 years
I don't think it's discriminatory, I work with plenty of people who are upper middle class who eat fast food nearly every day and complain about not losing weight. Perhaps a tax would make some of these people think twice about doing that. I make less than half what they make and I bring my lunch nearly every day and cook most nights. Yes, there are some poor neighborhoods where there aren't groceries and people live off food from the corner store or gast food, but, how many of these place don't offer public transportation? The city I work in has a large population of people who are probably at or below the poverty level. The city has plenty of bus service to the areas of town with groceries. If you live in that situation, how can eating fast food everyday be cheaper than bus fare to and from a place like Aldi's? I think something needs to be done to make healthy food readily available to people and I think fast food needs to not be such an easy alternative.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Being a New Jersey resident, there is a lot more to this "fast food tax" than it seems. First of all, the state of New Jersey is $35 billion in debt. Now, we've all read the Maxed Out posts, and know that when you are in debt, you try to cut spending. But Governor Corzine doesn't understand this concept. So instead of cutting spending, he suggests to raise taxes on everything. And since fast food is the hot topic of hate this year, he thinks that he might be able to get away with this one - to make more money for the state. Also, this gets people talking about "omg taxing fast food" instead of the real issue -- which is that a state $35 billion in debt should be thinking of something else other than taxing everything. Note: NJ already has the highest cigarette tax in the country; albeit the lowest fuel taxes
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Its definitely discriminatory. Uneducated, blue collar people depend on fast food, or people who rely on public transportation, i.e. the poor. There may be cheaper healthier food out there - but they have no idea where it is, and aren't educated on how to make the right food choices. This reminds me of how all the items in my neighborhood corner stores are ridiculously priced higher than things at our grocery stores: this is because the store owners are relying on the poorer neighbors who dont have a car and cant get to a store that has average prices and so they know they can rip them off. Its sad :cry: Yeah, people like us know how to eat healthy and economically, but then again we also have cars and educations and insurance and health care...we actually care about our health. There are a lot of people out there who just dont have a clue, and this tax is penalizing them for something that they're already being penalized for (poverty & lack of an education). :(
delyrium658 delyrium658 9 years
We as a society need to be smarter. People need to learn how to take care of themselves. While I think it's a nice idea to deter people from eating poorly at the same time as putting money towards a good cause - it's still our government saying "well...people don't know any better so we need to do something else to show them that this is poor eating habits". Ya know, I used to go to Dunkin Donuts for a croissant/egg/cheese sandwich and a coffee for about $5 a day. Since I've been on a mission to eat healthier (as a vegetarian for 12 years, I do eat fairly well to begin with) - I bought a box of heart healthy oatmeal for $3.50 with 8 individually packed servings. That's 8 mornings for $3.50 or at DD it's 8 mornings for $45... It's education, not money. Also - I'm a super busy person. So a minute and a half in the microwave compared to the wait on the line and at the counter is WAY more efficient as well.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
Everything on the East Coast is already heck of a expensive, including fast food. I don't eat it that much but this would make me think twice about getting it.
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