Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) criticized Texas State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.’s (D-Brownsville) proposed legislation, SB 1004, which would place a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in grocery and retail stores.

A wealth of academic research demonstrates that taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages have no measurable effect on the waistlines of Americans. In fact, soft drinks only account for less than six percent of the average person’s daily calories. 

“Taxes shouldn’t be a tool for social engineering, or an instrument to penalize Texans for doing nothing wrong,” said J. Justin Wilson, Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom. “Taxing soda and other beverages is enormously unpopular for a reason. Texas politicians must cut down on their spending binges instead of making citizens swallow this not-so-sweet tax.”

With a huge budget shortfall this year, Texas politicians are looking for clever ways to bridge the state's budget deficit which could be as high as $27 billion in 2012-2013. While the soda tax may grow Texas’s government coffers, it won’t slim down residents of the Lone Star State. The author of a recent soda tax study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, determined that people would likely switch to untaxed beverages with the same amount of calories such as whole milk or fruit juice, leaving a soda tax as primarily a money-making exercise for the government.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are no more fattening than any other food with calories,” Wilson continued. “It’s only the overconsumption of calories, whether from soda or other foods and drinks, that leads people to put on extra pounds.”