Minister Jack Wooling, pastor of Southside Church of Christ, is vehemently opposed to the proposed Measure N, commonly known at the Soda Tax.
“It’s one of the most idiotic ideas I have heard. To tax the people who are the least to afford to pay it makes no sense at all, and I don’t understand the rationale of it. It’s a bad idea and it’s exploitive,” he said.
Wooling also opposes Measure O, which stipulates proceeds generated from the penny per ounce soda tax will be used to support health, fitness and nutritional education programming.
He doubts proceeds will be used for its stated purpose. “The moneys they say will be used for a number of things will never happen. They will get the money and ultimately do what they want to do with it,” he said.
Wooling says both measures are highly ineffective in addressing risk factors associated with consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Community members will continue to drink them but at a higher price, he says.
“The people who buy them are going to keep buying them and will pay an exorbitant amount of money. It’s punitive to those who can’t even afford the older price, let alone the higher price.”
The answer, according to Wooling is to encourage community members to make lifestyle changes to promote weight loss and promote healthier dietary choices. He urges people to support Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign, “Let’s Move.”
Kia Croom is a contributing writer for the Richmond Post.