Arkansas paying more for soft drinks and candy
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) —
If you've noticed the cost of your soft drinks or candy going up, it's no mistake.
Effective this month, the sales tax on those items increased after lawmakers made changes. Act 141 removed soft drinks and candy from being considered “groceries”, so the sales tax increased from 1.5 percent to 6.5 percent.
Consumers KATV spoke aren’t happy and said it’s ridiculous, in fact, after being told the sales tax increased one customer bought a water instead of a soda drink.
“That's ridiculous, that's too much, we are all trying to save because you know, the economy and everything going on...I think it's crazy to be paying that much for a drink,” said Deuana Flowers.
"I feel like if you're going to raise taxes raise it on everything, not just the sodas," said Tim Nowlin.
Soft drinks include: sodas, diet sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and all juices containing less than 50 percent juice.
Candies include: Snickers bars, sugarless candies, breath mints, breakfast or nutrition bars that do not contain flour.
"I better start getting a cheaper drink, get some Gatorade...juice or something,” Flowers said after KATV told her about the new sales tax. “[Reporter: Unfortunately, Gatorade and juice they're also taxing that] [What? I better stick with water then, I think I better stick with water,” she responded.
Flowers wasn't kidding, she saved herself nearly a dollar buying a water instead.
While consumers aren’t thrilled with the increased sales tax, the Department of Finance and Administration said it will bring in around $13.8 million annually for the state's general revenue fund. The governor's spokesman told Channel 7 the revenue generated from this will be used to offset the military retirement income tax cut, also part of Act 141, creating revenue neutrality.
DF&A spokesman confirmed with KATV, retailers are also seeing a change in the price of drink syrups they buy from producers.
Retailers are now paying $1.26 a gallon instead of $2, which means their savings ultimately fell on the backs of taxpayers.