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The notion of addressing the burgeoning obesity problem with legislation continues to get traction around the country, with various states considering plans that would target less-than-healthy food.

• New York plans a new .25 percent sales tax on sweets and snacks, which the state believes could generate $50 million in annual revenue.

• Washington State is considering a repeal of its exemption on sales taxes on candy, which it hopes would raise $40 million a year.

While legislators in Arkansas, Vermont, and Nebraska considered and defeated similar proposals, there are factions in all three states that are pushing to reconsider the junk food taxes.

Ironically, even as states consider the idea of taxing less healthy food, there is a corresponding trend in some legislatures to prohibit so-called obesity lawsuits against manufacturers and restaurants. The Florida House of Representatives has passed just such a measure, which now goes to the state Senate.

Just a week ago, MNB reported that two separate bills protecting food and beverage companies from "obesity lawsuits" are working their way through the Ohio state legislature.
KC's View:
In the case of New York State, the plan has been to apply whatever tax revenues come from the junk food tax to childhood anti-obesity programs…but in a lot of places, the revenue is seen as an easy way of helping to close budget gaps.

Which would suggest to us that legislators are a lot more serious about bottom lines than waistlines.

And while we endorse the idea that personal responsibility has to be promoted in the anti-obesity struggle, we also feel that there is such a thing as corporate responsibility, and remain convinced that legislatures have no business indemnifying businesses from the threat of litigation.