President & CEO Elizabeth Avery Tells Legislature Snack Taxes are a Bad Idea & Hurt Consumers
Maryland recently introduced legislation (House Bill 1145) which would expand the Sales and Use tax to include snack foods.
SNAC President & CEO, Elizabeth Avery, testified in opposition to this discriminatory proposal today at a hearing in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. SNAC has worked closely with its member companies with facilities in the state to contact their legislators in opposition of the bill.
“A tax on snack food is regressive, disproportionately impacting low income citizens who may purchase a snack as a special treat,” said Elizabeth Avery, President & CEO, SNAC International, in her testimony. “It is also extraordinarily arbitrary and confusing. To single out a handful of snack items for taxation is equivalent to the Legislature picking winners and losers in a very competitive marketplace.”
Currently, with the exception of soda and candy, the Maryland State Sales and Use tax (6%) is not imposed on the sale of food (including snack food) by retail stores. The bill specifically defines snack foods as potato chips and sticks, corn chips, pretzels, cheese puffs and curls, pork rinds, extruded pretzels and chips, popped popcorn or snack mixtures that contain any one or more of these foods. The proposed tax would arbitrarily target certain snacks but not others, for example pork rinds but not beef jerky, and corn chips but not tortilla chips. With approximately 10,000 new items introduced to grocery stores each year, the administrative burden of determining which products are subject to taxation would be massive.
Maryland repealed its tax on snack foods in 1996, as have all other states that had such a tax, due to the administrative burden of collecting the tax, its regressive nature and its impact on competitiveness.
“SNAC members take great pride in their products and have introduced thousands of innovations to meet consumers’ desires for a wide range of attributes including low salt, high fiber, low fat, gluten free, and high protein, just to name a few,” said Avery. “We believe the proposed tax is unnecessary and will have a negative impact on Maryland jobs and the local economy by burdening the millions of taxpaying citizens in and around Maryland who purchase goods in the state.”
SNAC will provide updates on the status of this tax proposal following today’s hearing and as the process unfolds. You can read the full testimonial here.
About SNAC International: Founded in 1937, SNAC International (formerly Snack Food Association) is the leading international trade association for the snack industry representing over 400 companies worldwide, including suppliers, marketers and manufacturers. SNAC is committed to providing premier educational resources, connection opportunities, and advocacy to support growth for the ever-evolving snack industry.