Snyder signs law banning taxes on food & pop at Michigan grocery stores

Published: Oct. 27, 2017 at 7:58 AM EDT
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Governor Rick Snyder has signed a bill into law banning Michigan communities and local governments from taxing food and sugary drinks.

No communities across the state were even considering a tax on food, pop, or chewing gum, but the state legislature wanted to ensure it would not become an issue. Both the State Senate and House passed bills prohibiting communities from imposing a tax on all food and beverages. The law extends the Michigan Constitution’s ban on a state food tax to include counties, cities and townships.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Rob VerHeulen who calls it a win for Michigan families. “I am very pleased the governor agrees that a patchwork of local food taxes would be chaotic and have devastating effects on families, farmers and people who work in the grocery industry,” VerHeulen said. “Similar local taxes in Illinois and Pennsylvania had immediate negative impacts on the local economy as people began shopping in neighboring communities to avoid the extra cost a tax incurs.”

The action for Michigan comes at a time when many cities have passed ordinances imposing 'soda taxes' including Philadelphia, San Francisco, Oakland, and Seattle.

“Low-income earners allocate about one-third of their entire income to food purchases,” VerHeulen said. “Local taxes on food could be a budgetary tipping point for families, who might have to make a decision between paying the rent or buying groceries. I’m very happy Gov. Snyder agreed and signed the legislation.”

Food and beverage served at restaurants can be taxed. The state also taxes beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes.