New taxes are as popular as a yellow jacket buzzing the baby’s crib. But some Oregon legislators don’t know when to quit.
They have even tried to put new taxes on essentials such as food. Most states, at least, exempt food from sales taxes. Oregon should join them and do a bit more.
Grocery companies are taking the lead and trying to put a measure on the November ballot. It’s an act of self-interest for them, but it’s good for Oregonians to keep food prices lower.
Grocery companies have spent more than $2 million to get enough signatures for Initiative Petition 37, according to The Oregonian.
The proposal would block the Legislature from putting taxes or fees on sales of “groceries.” Groceries are defined as any raw or processed food or beverage intended for human consumption.
Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and pot could be taxed.
That language would protect more than just grocery stores. Sales of food at restaurants, coffee shops and food stands would be covered by the ban.
Food is a necessity, and taxes on food can be among the most regressive of taxes. People with lower incomes don’t have much room to cut spending on food. And if they do, what’s cheaper is not always healthier.
Of course, there are likely Oregon politicians who would like to shape food choices for Oregonians. They may want to tax soda or even anything with added sugar. Don’t let them. Taxes should be used to raise revenue, not to control the population. Sign the petition if you get a chance.
And next up in Oregon should be a proposal for a ban on tax and fees on medicine.