Wash. State Residents Sour on Candy Tax

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WASHINGTON - Washington State lawmakers are eyeing an 8 percent tax on candy as a way to raise revenue for the cash-strapped state.

They point out 29 other states already tax candy and gum. But those sweet on sweets feel sour about the proposed tax.

"I can't say that I'd really be in favor of it," resident Rob Brown.

The head of Tacoma-based candy maker Brown and Haley, which produces 2 million pieces of Almond Roca daily, says such a tax could threaten some of the 300 jobs there. The Brown and Haley chief said it will also plunder the pockets of candy-loving kids.

"I think really confection is a fun enjoyable part of life," Brown and Haley head Pierson Clair said. "And so why should we make it anything but that? And why should we discriminate against children who want to have a little tiny pleasure in life?"

However, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, says the cost would be miniscule.

"People have accused me of taxing tots and taking away their allowances. But what would be the tax on 50 cents of gum, about 4 cents?" she said.

Lawmakers have pointed out that a candy and gum tax would raise $28 million a year for Washington, which is currently $2.6 billion in the hole.

In addition, some who believe sweets are unhealthy think a sin tax on them could discourage their consumption.

But chocolate-advocates at this Washington candy shop say such an argument ignores healthy things about sweets -- like the fact an ounce of dark chocolate has 11 times more anti-oxidants than an ounce of blueberries.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.