Washington Joins 30 Other States in Taxing Candy
To help mitigate the recession’s impact on the state budget, policymakers in Washington State recently extended the sales tax to candy and gum. As shown in the graph below, a solid majority of states, 31, currently levy sales taxes on candy. Including candy in the tax base is expected to generate some $30.3 million in new resources during the current fiscal year, which is needed to help preserve essential public services like health care and education while the economy recovers. In conjunction with the sales tax expansion, lawmakers also approved a $1,000 per employee B&O credit for local candy manufacturers.
Basic food items are exempt from Washington’s sales tax. A major benefit of this exemption is that it helps to keep food prices low, which is especially important for low-income families that struggle to afford basic staples. But there is little reason to exempt unhealthy products like candy or soda – both of which have been linked to the growing obesity epidemic.