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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is Pop A Food?

    Where's Black Bart when ya need him?
    Who can forget the Faygo soft drink commercial, "Which way did he go?  Which way did he go?"
    Well Faygo and its competitors may need Black Bart to win a legislative shoot-out which has begun to unfold.
     Under current Michigan law the state's 6% sales tax does not apply to soda pop because it is consider a food.  But alas, some lawmakers are looking at a plan that would reclassify pop as a non-food and then they would slap the sales tax on that.
     Michigan Soft Drink Association lobbyist Bill Lobenherz contends pop is a food and if you were on a dessert island with nothing to eat but had an endless supply of pop, you would live he argues.
     He says the product has two or three of the "essential nutrients" of life i.e. water, phosphorus, and sugar.
     Tell that to Andy Dillon, the House Speaker who has endorsed the proposal which means Lobenherz has his work cut out for him.  In these tough economic times lawmakers are scratching to find more scratch wherever they can and pop is on the radar screen.
     As for the argument pop is a food, Dillon tells reporters, "We can legislate what it is, I think."
     Translated if lawmakers wanted to call a T-bone steak non-food they could which is why Lobenherz counters, if they try to do that to pop, "We'd have to take it to court."  And he reports courts in other states have sided with the industry.
     So pull up a Red Pop.  This could get ugly.


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