Letters: Gauge real impact of soda tax

ISSUE | SODA TAX

Gauge real impact on real people

The Harvard University study projecting major health benefits from Mayor Kenney's proposed tax on sugary drinks is a computer simulation based on assumptions about how people's behavior might change ("Study: From drinks tax, a healthier city," Thursday). There seemed to be no consideration of the likely results of demonizing a common and popular product.

An actual study would look at the effect on the commerce of the city, including the impact on grocers large and small; the effect on employment; the likelihood that citizens would substitute other products for the heavily taxed sodas; and the possibility that those with cars would smuggle sodas. If the tax is high enough, I would expect an underground market to develop, creating a newly criminalized class.

Instead of this 3-cents-an-ounce tax, why doesn't the city government assess taxes that are designed to do nothing more than raise revenue without trying to socially engineer behavior.

|Charles Slater, Haverford