3-17-15 – Let Them Eat Biggy Iggys

Posted by Rob Roper

The hypocrisy here is too delicious.

Dave Gram of the Associated Press reports that as our legislature contemplates (and will likely pass) a 2¢ per ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages, a set of new healthy food standards hit the State House cafeteria.

After a morning of self-righteously crafting legislation designed to punish us serfs if we decide to have a Pepsi because A) we’re just too fat, and B) we are apparently too stupid to make dietary decisions for ourselves, our erstwhile politicians broke for lunch only to find that their coveted Ben & Jerry’s Peace Pops were no longer on the menu.

The new rules say “at least 50 percent of snacks should have no more than 200 calories per item and sodas should be limited to 12 ounces.” The horror!

Majority Leader Sarah Copland-Hanzas’ (D-Bradford) reaction was as pathetic as it was predictable. According to Gram she said “lawmakers should be exempted” from the standards imposed on everyone else. The standard, by her logic, is only supposed to apply to state employees, and she is an employER. And as an “employer of state workers, she might like to see improved diets as part of an effort to keep health costs down.” Just don’t take away her ice cream.

Speaker of the House Shap Smith excused his indulgence in a Biggy Iggy (a 500 calorie chocolate chip cookies and ice cream sandwich) because, “I exercise a lot.” Well, so do I, so can I be exempt from the Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax?

Here’s a compromise. Instead of banning these unhealthy snacks from the State House Cafeteria, how about just not allowing such purchases to be applied to the legislators’ food per diem (which is , by the way, over $60 a day). Think of it as a friendly TAX, gently nudging your dietary decisions in the right direction. If you want your Iggy Biggy, pay for it yourself. Don’t expect us citizens coughing up 2¢ an ounce for our sodas to subsidize your expanding waistlines.

Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Brian Savage (R-Swanton) reportedly responded to the new standards, “What a crock! We’re all adults in this building. We know what’s good for us.” Hey, same goes for out here in the real world! I hope they all remember this when the beverage tax hits the floor for a vote. But, I’ll bet anyone a Biggy Iggy they forget. And somehow I suspect their Peace Pops will be back for sale before too long as well.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan March 17, 2015 at 2:04 pm

I guess what pisses me off the most is the lack of clarity of what will be done with the money. I may be more likely to accept a tax where 100% of proceeds fund comprehensive k-12 health education in school districts that otherwise couldn’t afford health education. That may actually change peoples behavior. But to have the funds chopped up, with every government program getting a piece of the pie, and kids getting a government instructor in for five minuets to teach them how to make a smoothie.(which anyone can get on you tube) is absolute BS. I was an after school coordinator for three years, running around to try and find funding for programs, so I know exactly what those chopped up fragmented government nutrition grants look like. PUKE.


Clara Schoppe March 20, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Jonathan, your statement [I may be more likely to accept a tax where 100% of proceeds fund comprehensive k-12 health education in school districts that otherwise couldn’t afford health education.] calls me to ask, just how would anyone benefit from anything called “comprehensive health education”? I have kept my own kids as far away as possible from anything the schools might consider “health education”. These programs are less about health and more about “social change indoctrination”. Better than sending this kind of tax to “education” programs, send it to the Vermont Food Shelf, or, better yet, stop taxing our food choices, and just not fund the high sugar drinks (and that would include orange juice–let them eat oranges) and candy (let them eat fruit) through our poverty food programs and through our legislators’ meals in the State House. Instead of giving our legislators $60/day to spend on any food they want, they could get cards that the state would reimburse, but only for the same foods that the state is willing to pay for for the poor. Just like everyone else for whom we foot the bill, they could spend whatever they want of their own money to purchase whatever they want of any food and beverage beyond what’s needed to sustain life and health.


Brian Savage March 18, 2015 at 1:45 am

Just for the record, I do NOT support the “sugar tax” and plan on voting NO when it comes to the floor. The tax will amount to nothing more than driving small businesses out of business when Vermonters will simply drive across state lines to buy their favorite beverage. Trying to regulate what people eat or drink by taxation, rules, or regulations is total against the principles that this nation was founded on.


Chris Campion March 18, 2015 at 1:57 am

It bears repeating: The state’s economy is in a slow but consistent death spiral. The state’s own labor forecast tells us 9 out of the top 10 jobs in the next 10-15 years will not require a college degree. VT ranks last or near last in every business climate poll, consistently, year-in, year-out.

And we’re paying state legislators to determine daily sugar content in our diets, as if a) legislators are experts in anything at all, much less dietary requirements, and b) it’s their job to tell me what to eat.

Their job is none of those things. In fact, the best job they can do, the majority of the time, is nothing – if the alternative is this waste of time, money, and energy spent doing nothing. There’s a line about a lot of sound and fury, etc., and we have prime examples of that every day squawking from beneath a golden dome somewhere in central Vermont.


jim bulmer March 20, 2015 at 10:02 pm

The sugar tax is the hight of hipocracy – Ben&Jerry? no, maple syrup? no, Champlain chocolates? no. Big bad Coke or Pepsi? You bet, they’re out-of-staters.


Ralph Colin March 20, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Dontcha know? The password for just about anything under the Golden Dome these days is “HYPOCRISY”.

Does that surprise anyone?


forbes March 21, 2015 at 12:31 am

Any one know how we can borrow Scott Walker for 6 months ?


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