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September 17th, 2009:

Is a “Coke Tax” a threat to Free Refills?

Georgia will never go thirsty.A story in this today’s New York Times confirms what we have all feared for a while now: efforts to tax coke are moving forward in Congress.

Apparently the self-righteous tofu-types who are behind this proposal are pushing for a one cent per ounce tax on soft drinks and some juices.

John Sicher from Beverage Digest told the Times what the tax would mean for consumers:

…a two-liter bottle of soda sells for about $1.35. At 67.6 ounces, if the full tax was passed on to consumers, that would add 50 percent to the price. A 12-can case, which sells today for about $3.20, could rise by $1.44, a 45 percent increase.

A lifestyle tax that increases pop prices by 45-50 percent is bad enough, but what the Times article did not explore is what impact such a tax would have on Free Refills.

Would a coke tax be levied on drinks served at restaurants and bars? If so, the cost to restaurants of providing a free refill of a 20oz soda would jump from around 12 cents to over 30. If this tax becomes law it could end free refills as we know them.

Fortunately, the American Beverage Association has set up an astroturf organization called Americans Against Food Taxes to fight the proposal. You can read more about their efforts at In the meantime, contact your representative and tell them it is time to stand up for Free Refills.

Previous topics mentioned in this post:

MINUTEMEN UPDATE: Senate considering Coke Tax

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