4-9-15 – Free Press Mocks Sugar Sweetened Legislators

by Rob Roper

You know a big-government, nanny state idea is really beyond the pale when Vermont’s usually pom-pom waiving media begins to make fun of the flagrant hypocrisy bound up in the lawmaking.

In case you missed it, the front page article in Wednesday’s Burlington Free Press, Statehouse Has a Sweet Tooth, chronicles in some detail how our representatives guzzle candy and other junk food as they pen laws aimed at morally judging and changing their constituents’ dietary behavior via a punitive taxes. As the article points out,

When the House Ways and Means Committee approved the tax April 1, committee members sat around a table piled with homemade baked goods, pastel-colored M&M’S, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, peanut butter-stuffed pretzels, Butterfinger candy bars, Savannah Smiles Girl Scout Cookies and a net bag of mandarin oranges.

What will they be stuffing their faces with – paid for, by the way, with a $61 per day food allowance that we the taxpayers pick up the tab for – when they vote on a ½¢ per ounce (e.g. 10¢ on a 20 oz. soda) sweetened beverage tax?

Vermont, the “healthiest state” in the Union, has one of the lowest adult obesity rates in the country at 24.7%. Without doing a scientific survey, I would be willing to hazard a guess that such a tally of our elected officials would far exceed that percentage. We the people should be teaching them a thing or two about healthy lifestyle choices, not the other way around.

My favorite quote from the article is from Rep. Tristian Toleno (D-Brattleboro) who said, “I’ve been too cheap to buy my own snacks, so I go to different committee rooms…. It’s amazing how we deplete the snacks, and they just keep getting replenished.” Kind of the perfect metaphor for how they spend our money, isn’t it. No idea where it comes from; no sense of responsibility for how it’s consumed.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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