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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Genius: SF Mayor Newsom Thinks It's OK To Be Sued In Order to Raise Soda Fees While Running For Governor

Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco has a brilliant idea: add new "fees" on sodas in the middle of a falling economy where California, as a whole, has seen unemployment reach 12.2%, East Bay and San Francisco/San Mateo regions has risen to11.9% and 9.5%, respectively.

Newsom would need voter approval to tax individual cans of soda and sugary juice, but only needs approval from the Board of Supervisors to levy a fee on retailers. His legislation would charge grocery stores like Safeway and big-box stores, but would not affect restaurants that serve sodas.

Newsom wouldn't say how much the stores would have to pay or how the city would spend the fees. When he first floated the idea in 2007, he said the money would go to his Shape Up San Francisco exercise program and for media campaigns to discourage soda drinking.

The mayor said the city attorney's office has warned him the city would probably be sued over the matter, but he said it is worth the risk to try to curb a leading cause of obesity and diabetes.

"We know we'll be sued," he said. "But I really believe this is important to do."

Let me get this straight, he's willing to waste millions of taxpayer dollars to fight a lawsuit in order to raise taxes that he will use to pay for healthcare. Why? Depending on how the court case goes, he could spend more on lawyers and court fees than he'll get in new tax revenue. Liberal math strikes again.

Another thing is that in California it is the law that voters must ok all taxes raises. So, Gavin must instead institute new "fees" to find a way around that law. In reality, "fees" are really taxes by another name. So, he is theoretically violating California law by not allowing voters to vote on whether they want their taxes raised or not.

Why would he do such a thing? He knows that no one in their right mind would vote for higher taxes, not even in ultra-liberal San Francisco. History has shown that to be true.

Liberal democracy in action?

He says that he's doing this for San Franciscans to "Shape Up San Francisco". Apparently, he thinks there are too many fat people that don't know what's good for them. So, he's going to decide what's good for them.

"It makes sense for the government to help people to make the right choices, and it makes sense to use dollars from charges on sweetened beverages on health programs," he said.

It doesn't make sense to me or to most Americans. They are very wary of nanny states and of federal interventions into their everyday lives. Where will it all stop? New taxes on doughnuts? Fried chicken? Pizza?

He is doing in the middle of his campaign to become the next governor of California. Is this really the best thing to do to win in 2010? Is raising taxes on people who have repeatedly voted down tax raises in a bad economy while trying to institute a "nanny state", interventionist policy a successful formula for a win next year? Probably not. Not even in the liberal state of California.

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