February 5th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Taxing basics like food to fill local budget shortfalls?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Phoenix, Arizona has approved a two percent sales tax on food. The city has a $240 million budget shortfall. So instead of laying off city workers, they have decided to tax people on what they eat. This is getting ridiculous.

It's estimated the tax on everything from milk to meat to vegetables will bring in tens of millions of dollars a year.

The tax is scheduled to last five years. The mayor says the city council could reverse its decision after hearing from the public in upcoming budget meetings.

Phoenix had been at risk of cutting close to 1,400 jobs - including 500 police and firefighters - along with closing libraries, senior centers and after-school programs.

Supporters of the tax say it's critical to keep emergency responders on the streets; and it can mean the difference between life and death. You could make the argument that eating also means the difference between life and death.

Guess who gets hit the hardest with a tax on food? The working poor, seniors and others on fixed incomes.

This tax will cause even more pain for the people of Phoenix during an already difficult economic time. Grocery shop owners worry what the food tax might do to their bottom line.

There's already an 8.3 percent sales tax on non-food items at grocery stores; and two percent of that goes to the city. But Phoenix wants more...

Here’s my question to you: Is taxing a basic necessity like food the answer to filling local budget shortfalls?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mike from Boca Raton, Florida writes:
Taxing a basic necessity like food is NOT the answer. What is the answer is reducing the budget shortfalls by reducing spending. In my family, in a month when I earn less money, we SPEND less. Not too hard of a concept to understand, even for a government type.

Melissa writes:
Two percent? That doesn't sound that bad. But then I live in Tennessee where I pay 8.25% sales tax on food and 9.75% on everything else. Part of that goes to the local government. And we're still broke.

Duane from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania writes:
Food is a necessity and should not be taxed. Driving is a privilege; if they have to tax something, do it at the gas pump. The way gas keeps going up no one would notice.

Victor from Baltimore writes:
So you prefer 1,400 more unemployed, more houses in foreclosure, and an increasing state and city budget gap because of falling receipts from real estate taxes. You prefer fewer cops on the streets, fewer firefighters, and fewer libraries and teachers.

Casey from Anthem, Arizona writes:
How does the city expect the people of Phoenix to get ahead with a 45% decrease in real estate and now you’re taxing our food as well? Haven't we suffered enough?

Tony from Idaho writes:
Idaho slaps a 6% sales tax on all grocery purchases, which is an abominable policy. All sales taxes affect those with lower incomes disproportionately, and taxing food is especially heinous. But the conservative leaders in this ruby red state would rather increase the burden on the poor and middle class than raise taxes on the wealthy and business.

Della from Massachusetts writes:
Hi Jack. Sorry, I'm from Tax-a-chusetts so it would not bother me at all. I'm numb (ha ha ha).

Caroline writes:
What's next, taxing the air that we breathe?

Filed under: Food Prices • Tax Hike • Taxes
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. David in Raleigh, NC

    We need to cut spending instead of increasing taxes on the taxpayers.

    February 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  2. JENNA

    Is taxing a basic necessity like food the answer to filling local budget shortfalls?


    What will shore up local budgets is to get people into jobs and homes.

    Roseville CA

    February 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  3. Joanne B

    No, this will hurt the poor.
    Cut all the programs by 5%, cut the State Employees wages by 10% and their pensions by 25% (they receive 80% of their regular pay in pensions w/17% increase per yr).

    February 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  4. Harold, in ANCHORAGE, AK

    Such a tax unfairly targets the lower income classes, better to increase taxation on luxury items to make up for shortfalls.

    February 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  5. Don (Ottawa)

    What ever happened to taxing the rich, or is that still a taboo subject? One thing about taxing food is that tax dollars are guaranteed to flow in. Also, there may be a positive spin-off in the fight against obesity. The next thing they will think of is a tax on watching TV or talking or texting on cell phones. On second thought, that's not a bad idea.

    February 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  6. Willow, Iowa

    A tax of a penny here, a nickel there, is not going to break any of us in this country.
    I pay over 200 dollars for health insurance, and my employer pays over 400 dollars for my insurance. I would gladly pay that six hundred dollars in taxes if I and all of the people needing health care in my state and country could also be covered for insurance.

    Also, I would gladly pay more in taxes to help my country get the deficit under control.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  7. Darren - Detroit

    We're still in the worst recession since The Great Depression and funding two wars in the Middle East, how much longer can we go borrowing all that money without raising taxes and paying for some of our own mistakes?

    February 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  8. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Some cities and states already do it so why not add more to the people who need food and can't afford it. This way more and more people will be able to file for food stamps and welfare. Sounds like we're headed for another major division between the rich and the rest of us. I'd bet that people like McCain and Kerry won't get hurt too bad since their wives are beyond rich.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  9. Lisa, San Jose CA

    You're kidding, right?

    February 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  10. Noel Vega

    You know Jack it does'nt matter what we say, or how many letters we write to congress they will tax just about anything you can think of, and when the people start to protest they will blame Obama for taxing food, Whats next the air we breath??


    February 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    My food is already taxed, through state and local sales taxes. No reason why others shouldn't be.

    Taxes are not avoidable......responsible use of those tax dollars, is the main issue........and I can assure that there is plenty of room for improvement, on that score. The bankers aren't the only ones around, who squander money.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  12. Russ in PA

    It's probably inevitable, and very perverse. At some point people have to realize that returning to a free market, and a free America, is the only answer. Of course, that would necessitate ending the FED, which, together with the clowns in DC, is at the root of all evil.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  13. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    That is what they said last time Jack and the time before that and the time before that and the time before that and the time before that.


    February 5, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  14. Maria

    Considering the obesity rate in this country, maybe we *should* have a food tax. We have the 'sin' taxes, sales tax on everything else, except groceries. I'm elderly and disabled and wouldn't mind a tax...I don't buy groceries in huge amounts. People on WIC should not have to pay taxes on their WIC approved basics.

    Other than that, why not a grocery tax?



    February 5, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  15. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    No in Texas we are not taxed on food enless it is prepared food such as precooked dinners or salads. Food should not be taxed anywhere to meet budget shortfalls.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  16. Greg in Cabot, AR

    Too late, Jack, I live in Arkansas where everything is taxed.
    We pay sales tax on groceries, services and labor of rates up to 9 pct. Eating out can cost up to 11 pct. tax depending on where the restaurant is located, rent a car, 9 pct. sales tax plus 13 pct. vehicle rental tax.

    I had to purchase another car last month after I was hit by a drunk driver. Even though I paid $900 dollars sales tax last July, the replacement car sales tax cost me over $1,000 because they also taxed the extended warranty that I never had a chance to use. Did I mention that we also have state income tax and property tax?

    With the taxes I already pay, sometime I feel that I work part time for the government since they get a good portion of my income.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  17. Ed from MD

    Psalm 7:1-2 "The wicked lie in wait "secretly as a lion in his den" to catch the poor" Just sayin..that's what the wicked do according to Psalm, whoever that is.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  18. Ryan- Galesburg, IL

    It's interesting how easy it is to tax the poor in this country, and to lower taxes for the wealthy. Why in the world doesn't Arizona legalize and tax marijuana, and solve their fiscal problems the logical way?

    February 5, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  19. Jan Illinois

    What is going on in this world, why can't what is broken in this country be fixed? Does anybody know how to fix anything in Washington?? When i need to fix something, I simply pick a starting point and go at it one day at a time till it's done. Buck up you over payed wind bags, get over yourselves and do what your payed to do or get out, I for one am soooo tired over your under achievement.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  20. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Jack I live in the Phoenix area. My guess is that there will be an increase but 'only' 1%. I expect also that we will see a decrease in salaries and wages among all city employees. Perhaps the local fire, police, and city worker unions will have a voluntary decrease among the members to help save jobs. In difficult times Jack we all must work together. Even the mayor and Phoenix city commission should take cuts.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  21. Terry in Texas

    No ! The way to ending budget shortfalls is to stop spending. Not everything the government spends is needed, just wanted.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  22. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    I don't suppose it would be that bad, but within a year everybody will forget that the tax is "temporary" and it will continue for eternity (or until the country turns over the title to the Chinese).

    February 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  23. Richard Texas

    Well at least it is a start. How about next we tax people for each child they have. The more children the higher the tax rate should be. We are becoming over populated by illegal aliens and people that either refuse to use birth control or don't care. They become a burden on all tax payers. A lot of these people never pay any tax at all for their children's education or healthcare generation after generation because they don't own any property.. We also need to start a consumption tax where by anything that is consumed a tax is generated and we all pay equally the same for what we buy item by item. That way ALL people must pay taxes not just the middle class and wealthy. We all consume so we all should pay for what we use.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  24. ken, dover de

    Taxing basic necessities is pure stupidity and just another example of elected officials thinking they can tax there way out of every problem. Local government officials have other options like making their employees contribute a larger percentage to their health care and pensions. Many local government workers contribute 0% for their health care and should be asked to pay 30 or 40% of the premiums like federal workers. Furloughs and pay cuts are another option. Nothing should be off the table, police, fire, or military employees all cost the taxpayers money. If the money is not there you must make the necessay cuts.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  25. K

    Just what we need - another tax to overburden the middle class who is already struggling to survive. What about a little thing called accountability and living within a budget. Ban special interests and pork barrelling would help. Just because government wants doesn't mean it needs!

    February 5, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  26. Jane (Minnesota)

    Of course its not the answer, Jack. I wonder if they've thought about how many more people will be affected by the 2% tax and won't be able to afford food and need public assistance.

    Government is a lot like many americans; overeating and not willing to change and go on a diet to lose until they have a medical emergency and even then often won't change bad behavior.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  27. southerncousin

    Don't you just love the Obama administration.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  28. Tony from Southport

    Cut the PORK and I don't mean food. John Murtha pork alone would do a lot to cut the budget shortfalls.

    All Congressional inflated expenses should be examined by a non partisan group. But that won't happen any more than tort reform.... why? Because those who are stealing the money are in charge of fixing the problem, and they'll do what they always do.... pass it on to the American taxpayer in one way or another. Why not food? Who said "Let them eat cake"?

    February 5, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  29. Ed Tallahassee

    No, Let's fix the Capital Gaines tax first. It kind of Sickens me that we tax people who work for a living at a higher rate then people who trade stocks for a living.

    Let's fix the over seas P.O. Box home offifce = get out of taxes free. That would bring in large tax revenues.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  30. Ed Tallahassee

    Or we could switch to a Value Added Tax.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  31. honestjohn in Vermont

    This tax will only hurt the poor and the middleclass and they have been hurt enough after 8 years of Bush.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  32. Ken M, Millington MI.

    Hello Jack. Sad reality ! Sorry jack i was going to rant about Republicans and Democrats and tea bagger's but what the hell does it matter anymore nobody going to do anything but fight anyways. If they could tax the air we breath they would. So why not tax the poor for all they got .

    February 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  33. jimmy in greenville, north carolina

    Yes it is. Food especially. Maybe it would make us eat less thus reducing health care costs. And it would make consumers realize the government is spending too much money if they resort to taxing food. Bring it on. The tea baggers will love it.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  34. Colleen Brooks, Charlotte, NC

    hmmm, in NC we already have a tax on food. We just had an increase in what they like to refer around here as sin tax. Tax on things like booze & cigarettes....seems more fair. you can opt out of booze & cigs, not so easy to opt out on food..bad idea. tax the rich to feed the poor-better idea.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  35. Bizz, Pennsylvania

    I believe that Arizona needs to keep people on the payroll especially the 500 policeman. But making people suffer that are already suffering is just wrong. Once a tax is in effect it will always be there. The promise of it being ended in five years is only a ploy to make it seem less painful to the people that it will hurt. Arizona is a republican state that believes in the trickle down theory and this tax is a good example of it. Maybe all they have to do is ask the rich nicely if they could turn the faucet on a little bit more so that more money starts to trickle down.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  36. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    What I’d like to know is that if I can stay out of the red in spite of everybody from the government to banks to financial institutions holding their hands out to me, why can’t they stay within their budgets. Mind you, I am on a steadily declining income, while theirs is always going up – particularly taxes. So instead of taxing the food out of our mouths, make those morons (the people who are supposed to know a whole lot more about money than me) deal with it themselves. They will have to anyway, when they finally bleed me dry.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  37. Mari Fernandez, Utah

    Dear Jack, the state of Utah, has a TAX on groceries it was 4.75% now reduced to 2.75% ! And this is a RED state!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  38. sean halley

    Hi Jack
    I know that people in America think their taxes are high, but when you compare with the rest of the industrial world, Europe and Canada, your taxes are among the lowest. You have to learn to pay for what government provides and the continual harping on the right that tax cuts will grow the economy sufficiently to cover the deficits seems to have limited applicability in your present circumstances. Cut spending, limit entitlements and raise taxes on those who can afford to pay, and slowly you will dig yourself out of this hole.

    Sean Halley, PEI Canada

    February 5, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  39. Jim


    Not a good answer, for the reason you cited; it hits the working poor, seniors, and others who can least afford it. A surtax on the wealthiest citizens is a better answer.

    Reno, Nevada

    February 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  40. Penny, Bellvue WA

    Arizona is McCain country, a very red state run by the Republicans, so it's hard to believe that they can't keep taxes and spending balanced.

    But following Republican principles, the answer is clearly to cut taxes and remove any regulations by such anti-business city departments as the Health Dept., and the Building and Safety Dept.

    This will cause a surge in business activity and tax revenues, and the problem will be solved.

    It worked great at the national level over the last 8 years, didn't it?

    February 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  41. Don from Belleville, Canada

    YES, YES, YES, Jack. If it moves, tax it. If you can eat it, tax it. If it makes you laugh, tax it. If it is as good looking as you and Wolf, tax it. Spending cuts aren't working, so hello taxes. Here in Canada we love taxes. We love to pay them, especially the new and weird ones. Taxes are fun. We want Americans to have as much fun as we are having.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  42. chris

    nope this is a money grapper they would tax the air we breath if they could

    February 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  43. Joe M


    No! However, if you have not noticed government would rather bleed us dry than make cuts and that is just what they are doing down there. The next tax will be on the air we breathe.

    Joe M (Mn)

    February 5, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  44. Rory Murray

    How about a tax on all "non-citizens" that rely on our social services? They are one reason Phoenix and America are broke.
    The other reason is that all politicians are ADDICTED to spending OUR MONEY! A 20% across the board PAY CUT is what the Doctor ordered!
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino, CA

    February 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  45. Bertina

    Yes, Jack, lets make the unemployment line even longer. That's what America is all about.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  46. Homeless D in Atlanta

    NO, the best way to fill the budget shortfalls is to (1) tax those who have the MONEY, and (2) stop spending so much on crap we do not need.

    But the tax burden, proportionally, is ALWAYS more burdensome on those who do not have enough money to make it. Always has been that way, and always will be.


    Because those with the MONEY are determined to keep it and they have the power to do so.

    Just ask the pre-revolutionary Russians, and the pre-revolutionary French.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  47. Mark

    Been to Oklahoma lately, Jack? Well, if you have you know that here in Oklahoma we already pay a sales tax on groceries....and I mean everything from a T-Bone to a Twinkie. And guess what, The City of Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma BOTH have huge budget shortfalls. Anyone in Arizona listening?

    Oklahoma City

    February 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  48. Jim

    Not only NO, but Hell No! There are many things you could tax at a higher rate than food. For example, tax the crap out of luxery items such as cigarettes, liquor, luxery cars, yacts, private airplanes, etc. However, the wealthy that control the country will never allow that to happen until the revolt that's coming happens.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  49. Doug - Dallas, TX

    It may be Jack, but my question to you is what would you do if you had to make these kind of decisions? Where is the money going to come from? Because cities and states are required by law to balance their budgets each year, they find themselves in the position of cutting services or increasing taxes and it's a hard choice to make; I know because I'm on the city council in our town. It costs money to run a city regardless of size and when the money isn't there, tough choices have to be made. So have the courage to read this and tell us; what would you do?

    February 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  50. david doherty

    Jack I keep writing about the same thing and you refuse too read it on the air, I'm starting to feel like the media is part of the problem. The answer is not taxing food, it's stop importing so much crap in this country. Why doesn't anybody get it! When you produce products in the USA, you collect income tax! Why is America broke? Because we're producing less and less in this country, which means less and less income for the country! Buying imported products is the same thing as treason, your basically selling out the country!!!!!!!

    Dave from Peterborough, NH.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  51. Ivy from Houston

    These are truly trying times and politicians do what’s easy but taxing food is a extreme especially in a lot of people are having such a hard time making ends meet. Maybe they could get their representative in Washington instead of supporting pork they could fight for help to prevent taxing food. One problem is some politicians don’t believe in stimulus or helping people, or have the imagination in these hard times to help. Perhaps they could volunteer to take 80% pay cuts and go without medical and expense allowance to help and show solidarity with the people they represent. Now that’s funny

    February 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  52. Layne Alleman

    Jack, Again, this is what happens when Local, State, and Federal governments are allowed to take tax-payer money to "THE CASINO" (Wall Street). It's not JUST Arizona, it's the country as a whole. My state, Illinois, is so broke that our snow plow drivers are now "part-timers" (a great feeling as you're going down the road). We, as a state, are so broke, that our governor's race is between "who can hide how broke we are", the best (I predict more jail sentences). Bottom line; our public short-falls are so great now that they could tax everything including sleep, and it wouldn't dig us out of this hole. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  53. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    After so much has been done to get Americans to eat healthy and we want to spoil it with the foul taste of taxation...I'll starve.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  54. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    They can just go across the border to Mexico to buy their food. Alot of people do that anyway to buy other staples. Maybe it might help our growing problem of obesity. And it's Phoenix. I would think taxing water usage might be more lucrative.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  55. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    This whole dilemma is caused by mismanagement of funds. The nerve of these inept politicans taxing food! You are right Jack about the people this tax will hurt. Those budget meetings will be swamped with irrate citizens. I'm certain they may reconsider. The citizens of Phoenix need to vote out every incumbant the very next election.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  56. JW Georgia

    The problem is not that governments at all levels gets too little revenue. The problem is that these entities spend every nickel they get plus whatever they can borrow against the future. The answer is not to tax more. The problem is to spend less. Until we practice this common sense solution, there will never be enough tax revenues at any level of government. even if taxes are raised to a hundred percent of every purchase.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  57. Theresa

    I do not agree with taxing foods from the basis food groups but I see nothing wrong with taxing what is classified as JUNK food. I squirm when I hear parents whine that pop (soda) is being taxed because their children have to drink something. Earth to parent-an alternative-WATER!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  58. vern-anaheim,ca

    jack,in a one word answer,NO

    February 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  59. Stan in Boston

    Local government has to get the money from somewhere. The federal government can't give more because the conservatives are already up in arms about how much of the stimulus package went to help the state and local governments retain police, firemen, teachers, trash collectors, etc. Any attempt to provided more help would be filabustered. But if you want to cut taxes on the federal level, then you need not be surprised when taxes go up on the state and local levels. It's nothing new. One of the few ways the Bush administration chose to pay for its tax cuts was by cutting the funds it provided to the states, which, in turn, led to a rise in state and local taxes. And state and local taxes are more likely to be flat rate taxes which are more of a burden on the lower and middle classes. The rich get richer. The middle class pays the piper.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  60. Mike, Boca Raton

    Taxing a basic necessity like food is NOT the answer. What IS the answer is reducing the budget shortfalls by reducing spending. In my family, in a month when I earn less money, we SPEND less. Not too hard of a concept to understand, even for a government type.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  61. Dennis North Carolina

    Jack, where do you live? I live in north Carolina which taxes everything but labor and yes food and medicine are taxed. you must live in heaven.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  62. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Hell no, the answer is to cut spending, better yet just quite wasting money on politicians pet projects.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  63. Greg in Cabot, AR

    Too late, Jack, I live in Arkansas where everything is taxed.
    We pay sales tax on groceries, services and labor of rates up to 9 pct. Eating out can cost up to 11 pct. tax depending on where the restaurant is located, rent a car, 9 pct. sales tax plus 13 pct. vehicle rental tax.

    I had to purchase another car last month after I was hit by a drunk driver. Even though I paid $900 dollars sales tax last July, the replacement car sales tax cost me over $1,000 because they also taxed the extended warranty that I never had a chance to use. Did I mention that we also have state income tax and property tax?

    With the State taxes I already pay and the good portion of my income it takes to support the state, I wish I could claim the state of Arkansas as a dependent on my federal income tax return.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  64. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, doesn't the passing of the tax bill in Phoenix answer that question? Of course they need to increase taxes, we can't expect them to cut services or jobs or live within their budget-–they are the government, for crying out loud! Same thing is about to happen in L.A. as soon as the unions stop the Mayor from laying off 1000 city workers, the only solution will be to tax something. The states are next, so just stand by, if it works in Phoenix/LA, it'll work in Ari/Cal?

    February 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  65. Dave - Grand Rapids

    OK, I'm bored and am going to respond to a number of your posts today, Jack. Great topic! Economists have long considered a tax on food as a tax on the poorest Americans. So this is obviously a bad idea. However it points to a great moral – remember the story in the Bible of Joseph storing up food and materials during the 7 good years because he knew the 7 bad years were coming? I think it's in Exodus, but don't quote me on that. Government across this country tend to do the opposite – they grow to fill whatever monies come into the coffers during the 'good years' and then act like they got caught off guard in the 'bad years'. Economies are cyclical – 5th Graders know that. Governments from the township boards to the US Congress need to grasp that you save during the good times because the bad times are coming. Get out a history book if you don't agree....

    February 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  66. hampster

    Americans are already overburdened with taxes. Is not tax freedom day around mid May. Guess Tax freedom day in the future will be sometime around Halloween!!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  67. Bob - Playa Union Argentina

    Jack, in your first line here you puzzeld me big time! You make it sound like BEFORE this suggested tax on food there was NO TAX on food! Am I wrong? It seems to me every time I see my grocery bill I see taxes and they aren't small.

    What am I missing??

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  68. Nell, Clemson, South Carolina

    It's too late to do anything about the money that is gone. But, we need to do somethng now to bring in more money from those who are currently employed. To start, we need to take the cap off the maximum salary from which social security is deducted.

    Those CEOs on Wall Street who are getting millions of dollars in bonuses ought to be forced to pay social security on ALL of their income - especially their bonuses. That would do a lot to help save social security.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  69. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    No it's not because food isn't the main necessity. The main necessity is to rid ourselves of shady and money-hogging people! No more cheapy the cheapskates!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  70. Denis Duffy

    The Mayor and city council should be recalled and thrown out of office. Basic food needs should not be taxed.

    Denis Duffy
    Upper Saint Clair.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  71. chewy

    "Give till it hurts"or in this case "Give till you starve". Instead of this tax, or out right laying people off, what ever happened to pay cuts? If it is that bad maybe everyone it affects (government) should tighten their money belts. Shrinking the bottom line is no challenge for status quo. The answer is, live on a "actual" budget. The people have been dooped again. It seems that the mayor and city council have copped out on their costituants. This terrible time they have chosen for this tax, certainly will not affect their personal wallets as they have good tax payer jobs and can certainly just vote themselves a raise if the price of a gallon of milk should take away from their limo budget. This just goes to show all americans that our elected officials are not in touch with the people they govern in the slightest. This angers me!!!!!!!!!!!.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  72. Joe CE

    Taxing food should be limited to resturant meals. If you can afford to dine out, you can afford the tax. Taxing other food is regressdive, a burden on the poor, and bad policy.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  73. Rose

    Tax those who are not paying their fair share–the superwealthy and corporations. Or, at least take away their big tax breaks. Seventy percent of US corporations pay no income tax and eighty percent of the foreign do not, yet they use our mail, military, educational, etc. services. Our current politicians are bought up by these entities, so as long as sheeple continue voting for the same old politicians, the middle class will keep getting raped.

    Rose in London

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  74. Gary H. Boyd

    Since everybody has to eat, what better place to insert a tax than on food. Since it applies to anybody with an appetite everybody gets shafted equally.

    Gary Boyd, Scottsdale, Arizona

    February 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  75. A. Smith, Oregon

    Hidden Taxes are already in place across America. Some 90% of hard alcohol retail cost is taxes. What is new here? Suddenly realizing there is something as esoteric as City Taxes? City's routinely slip in a few pennys on gasoline sales in their city boundarys, among other places. I fail to see how this is anything new or even special given this is the year 2010 not the year 1910.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  76. Kyle, Irvine, CA

    putting a 2 percent tax on food will work but it is wrong to tax a basic necessity of life. I think Arizona should call President Obama and ask for a bailout!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  77. Mark, Bradenton,FL

    First of all our liar in chief said no tax increase for 95% of Americans. Why not taxing companies that outsourced our jobs? Why not cutting military spending? We create jobs in Iraq and Afgh. with our money. No Jack this idea will lead to a revolt.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  78. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    What's next?? Taxing air and water. How very stupid is this!

    A better idea would be is to stop giving welfare to illegals and welfare queens. Welfare should have a shelf life of two or three years and then stop! Illegals get a platter of benefits and creating babies for a bigger check, free healthcare, ETC.

    Taxing food is a very dangerous idea..Someone could get killed for their box of Wheaties!!!

    Yes, I'm politically incorrect...And proud of it.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  79. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Two percent tax on food is mostly harmless for people, on $100 that two bucks. With the tax perhaps those same people will by lottery tickets. A small tax on everyone is better than a city going bankrupt. No one likes taxes but bills have to be paid. Perhaps the 2% tax will keep water running into homes throughout the city. Lets see a show of hand who refuse to pay the tax and go without water.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  80. Pete - Hiawassee, GA

    No Jack, we're already the most taxed living organisms ever in the history of the solar system. The answer is to cut the federal budget by 70% along with taxes and let free enterprise work without handcuffs on.
    Last but defininitely not least................vote out all the incumbents.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  81. Ed from California

    I say, "Kick'em while their down". The taxpayer is lying about being unemployed and having a shortfall of funds. How about this: We tax all imported goods with a huge tariff. So now, that Prius you just bought for $30,000, now cost, $80,000. Or, those dishes you just bought for $69.99 for the set of 8? cost now, $1,000. Jack, it's simple, American jobs, employ Americans, employed Americans pay taxes. These income taxes, help pay for our services, like, police, firefighters, pot-hole repair personal, congressmen and women, US senators, presidents and all the other departments that takes to service our country.
    We can't keep printing money, we have to start working again. Seriously, we have to put a tariff on all imported goods to make up for the loss of FIT income.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  82. Don, Las Vegas NV

    The answer is to end the war on drugs, legalize and tax marijuana. End the ridiculous prohibition. Larger than that though, end the two wars. The money saved, and earned, from doing these things would create an immediate cash flow change for our states and DC. Also, put a two year term on welfare. Period.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  83. ya

    R u kidding. Let me give u budget 101. Need to evaluate discretionary spending in the government. The citizen a reduction in the non-decretionary department because that's all they have left. If the government decides to remove the leaches (oil companies, gas companies, cable companies, local government, bank, the people will have money to restart the economy. Then the will get the money they need/want

    February 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  84. Michael Roepke - Dallas, TX

    Why would we want to tax products we produce and thereby lowering the demand? Wouldn’t it make sense to tax petroleum products which would raise money while lowering our dependance on foreign oil and leave us less concerned with middle east politics.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  85. frank

    This is stupid. It hits the poor the most. How about the guy who panhandles for change? Granny eating cat food? Or the military who are on food stamps? You have enough kids, you get food stamps.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  86. Laura

    Heeelllll no. What happened to the junk food tax? That I support. If you tax EVERYTHING, people are going to lean EVEN MORE to buying the cheaper foods, which equates to unhealthy foods. Then up goes healthcare costs later on down the road. Dumb, dumb idea.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  87. Mary Cacici

    I wouldn't call it a bailout. The Government took from Peter to pay Paul which I think was wrong. They should have the agencies that were paid pay the money back with interest just like the banks are doing to the Americans. If that doesn't happen, then Social Security deserves a bailout...

    Vista, Ca

    February 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  88. Richard Green

    Good Lord no!
    Raise the fees at the municipal golf course and put a head tax on the private courses. Put in a utility tax so that those who use more resources will pay a little more. Reduce the number of city employees who are supplied with city vehicles, cell phones, and lap tops. Start a city run bank and issue low rate credit cards to bring in more revenue.
    Anything other than charging people to eat and feed their families.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Ca.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  89. Steve, Clifton, VA

    The answer to filling local budget short falls is initiate a temporary tax increase for everyone-across the board. This country has allowed the two political parties to make taxes a bad word when it is the basis for funding the strong military that we have and a vital foundational component of our economy. It's time to use taxes for the good of the many as opposed to using tax increases as a political football to score points.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  90. Karen - Nashville

    Jack, we all know some food items just aren't .. well .. food. Can't they lay a big "fat" tax on the Twinkies and sodas and leave bread, vegetables, and protein alone?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  91. santa clause

    let them tax what ever they want I have a garden

    February 5, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  92. Liberal,MI

    I think the Beatles covered it all with the lyrics to "Tax Man"/

    February 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  93. Thom Richer

    This uncompassionate and egocentric B.S. of an idea surely comes from a smug, wealthy, and connected group of government people on the right. At the least it comes from those who do not do their own shopping and do not live on a budget or worry if they will have a job tomorrow. Only those with money to burn would concieve such an idea and only the most arrogant of bastards would actually pass such hateful legislation.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    February 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  94. Gigi Oregon

    Jack you are scaring the hell out of us with all of these government scenarios. Why don't we throw out government and start over. Is the plan to starve all the poor to death. It reminds me of a saying. There is two thinks that are sure in life "Taxes and death". Why we don't tax corporate America who have created this mess I'll never understand. Well...I guess I understand "you just can't fight city hall". Another one of those sayings from days gone past.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  95. Sue From Idaho

    The whole state of Idaho has a 6 percent tax on food. We are still in a whale of a deficit and our schools are taking another hit this year. We also voted in the lottery some years back to help fund our schools and I wonder where that has gone to. Why not pay a flat tax or give them the whole darned check?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  96. martin wolk

    Local budget failings would be review the phoniness of politicins Retirement funds, reduce the sales taxes, this will in turn create more sales which will create production and more employees needed for production within the country or imports.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  97. Karen (Virginia Beach, Virginia)

    I guess that is one way for the government to force people to lose weight; tax the food they eat until they can't afford to eat! Brilliant plan! Of course, when people stop buying food then they can raise the tax even more. Since when has any local government let a tax lapse? NEVER!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  98. Bruce - Delaware

    No new taxes are needed. The Federal Reserve (European families, Rockefellers, etc.) need to stop extracting the inflation tax, and folk could keep up.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  99. Bob In Florida

    Maybe Phoenix should pass a law stating anyone earning under $100,000 per year, turn over their paycheck to the city of Phoenix. Then the city of Phoenix could distribute what THEY thin the citizens need for living expenses.

    Florida is similar in that sales taxes are extremely uneven. If one buys a car, they have to pay full sales tax in it. However, if one buys a luxury boat or airplane, that (rich) person only pays sales tax ON THE FIRST $25,000 of the purchase. There are a number of OTHER LUXURY items that have NO SALES TAX, like massages.

    It seems that the poor and lower middle class is propping up the wealthy more and more in this country. Socialism is ONLY FOR THE WEALTHY!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  100. Bin

    We all know this massive national debt can only be trimmed with both less spending and more taxes. But not all taxes are created equal, and a non-progressive tax on necessaries such as food overtaxes the poor and undertaxes the wealthy. Someone making $20K a year ends up paying the same tax on a $50 grocery bill as someone making $200K a year. How about taxing luxury goods instead?

    February 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  101. Michele Bienvenu

    Jack caught your bit on " does congress feel our pain"
    absolutly not or they would never have so obviouly over spent on a meeting including family etc etc etc., do they have any idea how many americans will suffer if the healthe plan and all the cuts go through? millions of special needs children will no longer get the help that medicade provides them now, I'm not for government dependant program except when it is about the helpless and elderly they should be ashamed at using money that could have gone to the poor
    so NO I don't think they feel our pain!!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  102. Jon S.Pridham

    Where do you want money to come from. The Feds have their trouble, and people screaming about to much spending, so the states don't get the revenue from them, which means the the towns and citys don't get the revenue from them. You knowJjack alot of your questions roll around the fact that there are money problems. Maybe it's time for a change!

    Jon S.Pridham

    Kittery ME

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  103. Linda in Arizona

    How typical of the republican scum in Phoenix to institute a tax that harms the poor and middle class. Screw them. I wouldn't live in Phoenix if they paid ME.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  104. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    No, because it would be like taxing us just because we are alive. We have very little choice but to buy most of our food from groceries stores, unless of course you want us all in the woods hunting for our own food! Now that is not a bad idea at least then people might learn not to wasting nearly fifty percent or more of the food that we cook each day. Most of our food goes in the trash, we Americans love to waste as much as we can in everything we do!

    February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  105. Cedric

    The federal government should add another 2% to pay off debt.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  106. Angie

    Tax on food. Hmm sounds like old times again.
    I remember when they dropped tax on food in the 1970's in some states. Then they dropped tax on food in some more states in the 1980's.

    How do I know this?

    Because I am 56 years old, because I lived in two different states during both those decades just when they dropped the tax on food during those two time periods.

    It isn't new. They used to tax everything, including food for many decades since the Great Depression to improve the economy and it worked. They had a surplus in local governments for decades then they decided to ended the tax on food.

    The food tax worked, it was across the board, and then it was ended.
    It can work again.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  107. Bob in Kansas City

    Taxing food items to balance budgets?....stop the spending of money on crap such as pro sports and tax subsidies that never work as advertised...we have the same issues here in Kansas City..can't get the roads fixed but there's always two million a year for "maintenance" at the sports complex for our two major league teams...

    February 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  108. Melissa

    Two percent? That doesn't sound that bad. But then I live in Tennessee where I pay 8.25% sales tax on food and 9.75% on everything else. Part of that goes to the local government. And we're still broke.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  109. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Cities with bloated, high paid staffs across the country have been using the same tactic: either pony up with yet higher sales taxes or suffer the doom of lawlessness, fire, and zero public services. The people in Colorado Springs got the same stern warnings, but voted down the increased sales tax, and found out that nothing dire happened. The city slugs realised that they might end up with the same crappy pay and benefits the taxpayers enjoy then somehow managed to make a few internal cuts and motor on. I am lucky that the City of Fort Collins is so much better run. Any tax on food should be a capital crime.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
  110. Fred P

    N.C. has been taxing food for years. like it or not it's the fairest tax we have. everyone pays it! [well with the exception of those who can't, don't or won't work and rely on food stamps] only smokers pay tobacco taxes and only drinkers pay alcohol taxes but we all eat. only home owners pay real property taxes while renters skate by but again we all eat...... :-]

    February 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  111. Tony in Idaho

    Idaho slaps a 6% sales tax on all grocery purchases, which is an abominable policy. All sales taxes affect those with lower incomes disproportionately, and taxing food is especially heinous. But the conservative leaders in this ruby red state would rather increase the burdsen on the poor and middle class than raise taxes on the weatlhy and business.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  112. jeane

    Tax internet sales. You buy in the store and pay taxes. Buy the same thing on the internet and no taxes. Wake up America.

    February 5, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  113. William Courtland

    Deflate the realestate bubble and redirect the net worth of the currency elsewhere. Why should the Federation need to pay for itself just because an individual says it is worth a fortune to reside here...

    The worth is the product of the home: as the building materials and services invested: while the land only holds a net worth of what can be extracted. Renewable or non: the Fed should not care.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  114. Curtis in Kansas

    Jack – You know, if your concern is the working poor let's enact The FairTax – while all NEW products and services would be taxed, the working poor (and everyone else) would receive a pre-bate to pay the taxes for the basics... and the rich people, who spend more, would pay much more in taxes.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  115. Curtis in Kansas

    If the Democrats and President Obama want to tax health care benefits, why not food too?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  116. Della T.

    Hi Jack ; ) Sorry, I'm from Tax~a~chusetts, would not bother me at all, I'm numb ha ha ha

    February 5, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  117. Ken Lusk

    Jack, do you think they'll take an IOU or maybe a coupon instead? This is getting ridiculous. To tax us on basic necessities some people already can barely afford any more. On top of which I feel even further cheated because I buy groceries with money I've already been taxed on. Food, now treated the same as "luxury" items...where will it end?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  118. Duane in Lock Haven PA

    Food is a necessity, should not be taxed. Driving is a privilege, if they have to tax something, do it at the gas pump. The way gas keeps going up no one would notice.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  119. Karl from SF, CA

    I think a partial tax on food; maybe a quarter of the full sales tax rate would be OK. People need to realize it’s not a free ride anymore. Those necessary services cost money. We have sliced it as thin as it can get and still exist. It wasn’t that long ago groceries were taxed like everything else and we were doing a lot better financially and health wise.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  120. Tom in Iowa

    Taxing food is not acceptable. For ever penny we tax food that means 1% Less Food on the table of low income Americans. I am sure that governments can find another source of income instead of taking food out of the mouths of hungry children.

    Tom in Iowa

    February 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  121. Joseph Kavanaugh

    If they keep on taxing us, soon Haiti will be sending food to us! The government is totally out of control!!!

    Postal Joe,

    Rock Hill, NY

    February 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  122. Anthony Mercando, M.D.

    Is taxing a basic necessity like food the answer to filling local budget shortfalls?

    No. Firing politicians is a much better solution.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  123. jsaon

    Hell no!!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  124. Anthony Novak

    I can sum this up in two words: Dumb Idea.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  125. Blake Sienkiewicz

    Let them eat cake!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  126. Wanda hutchinson

    I live in Virginia. I don't remember a time when food wasn't taxed.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  127. Steven L. in Phoenix

    Adding taxes to basics should be an absolute last resort, Phoenix and Arizona has a 800 First Responder Shortfall, the additional 500 First Responders being laid off would put Phoenix in an abysmal state for fire and crime response. This is a small price to pay to stay safe in Phoenix

    February 5, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  128. Geri Fedorovich

    No, No, No, Jack. We are already paying too much for groceries. The items are getting smaller, while the price is raising higher! We can barely survive with this much less more taxing!

    Geri Fedorovich
    Nacogdoches, TX

    February 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  129. Alberta Dobbe

    Hawaii already taxes food, it taxes everything even Doctor's visits. I think Colorado used to tax food but gave a refund to low income families, or some kind of refund. Are there other states that tax food?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  130. Casey Jones

    How does the city expect the people of Phoenix, AZ. to get ahead with a 45% decrease in real estate and now your taxing our food as well? Haven't we suffered enough??

    Anthem, AZ.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  131. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    One of the ways businesses expand to increase revenue and yet reduce costs is to consolidate or merge.

    The time may be coming when large cities and suburbs may have to rezone and converge the police, fire, emt, schools, and other services. This would not cause job loss through layoffs but would increase efficiencies which, would in the end save money, reduce taxes, and probably improve service.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  132. Victor

    So you prefer 1400 more unemployed, more houses into forclosure, an increasing state and city budget gap because of falling receipts from real estate taxes...you prefer less cops on the streets, less firefighters, less libraries and teachers to educate your dumb kids?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  133. joel from NJ

    we should tax junk food and encourage general food to produce organic healthy food.
    Also the gov should subsedise healthy food to people with low income if they are intrested of making the american people healthier otherwise this health care reform is just BS!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  134. Mike Theodore

    Government exists to protect life, first and foremost. To tax food is a barrier in the way of sustainable living. I have seen this happen in too many cities, and it hurts everybody. The average citizen on a limited budget still has to eat, and pays more. The business owner sees profit goes down as customers try shopping elsewhere, and in the end the government keeps spending more. Make a balanced budget before even thinking about taxing your people to make up shortfalls.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  135. Pat Evans

    Jack, you think that's bad? You should see what the state, county &
    local municipallities in Florida have done with everyone's property taxes! I know...were talking about taxing food here. I will never live anywhere that does that to it's citizens!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  136. James Allen

    We already tax clothing, housing, and water. Our water is the safest and cleanest in the world. Hmm... We have an obesity problem in this country, perhaps encouraging people to eat less is not bad as it will lessen our medical needs in the future. Hmm... We need to be less afraid of tax as our needs that we demand from government incur cost. Hmm... I don't see 2% tax on food as that bad. IF you are worried about hurting the poor, perhaps you can target it as 1 % on fruits, grains, vegtables, 2% on dairy, and 3% on meats with perhaps 4% on the highest quality of cut. Otherwise, stop raising strife over legitimate revenue and making simplistic appeals to ignorant public rage. And if you want to talk about price of food hurting the poor, how about rightfully attacking the farm subsidies? Where is free market philosophy and global thought with concern to our crops? This HURTS the poor!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  137. William Courtland

    So how to deflate the realestate bubble... Legally.

    First understand that to increase property taxes will cause people to move away: this means less people to protect and serve in your area, but the property listings will also drop in price.

    So if you had a productive meeting with all the mayors of the United States: as councilled by their district representative and catagorized under the Senators: to function a leadership role by the president to raise the unified property tax of the entire union by two percent.

    Property taxes raise: realestate prices drop, and nobody moves.

    In this property should be exchanged to the Federation and Back, via State and Municiple interests: it never sold buyer to buyer but from Buyer from State back to State. While the next purchases then buys the property off the State: the buyer can sell only if the purchases has the total amount due in held accounts not backed by loans: as all loans for housing are financed by a Senate bank branch of the Fed and State combined. This only when the Fed is also found raising massive new housing structures to meet the demands of the homeless: and providing new spaces for development with applications off the USPS.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  138. Caroline

    What's next, taxing the air that we breathe?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  139. Ian

    What do you expect? We have some of the lowest taxes in the developed world and can't even pay for basic emergency services. If we refuse to pay higher taxes what do you expect our government to do? Our revenue doesn't come out of thin air. It's either taxes or loans, and personally I'm getting sick of loans.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  140. Pamela Cleland

    I think it's pathetic ... but typical ... that our governments, whether state or federal, always find no moral problem with increasing taxes "across the board," meaning the poor get hit with tax "increases" ... but find some unsubstantiated reasoning to have "tax-CUTS" directed at large businesses, banks and the wealthy investor ... meaning the working poor never benefit from the tax cuts ... but always feel the increase.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  141. Leslie

    I think there should be a 4% tax on junk food across the country. We should tax chips, soda, cookies, ice cream, candy etc to bring in revenue and create a healthy environment!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  142. Ronald Morris

    I have been in favor of taxing food for years. It is the one tax that no one can avoid. It is also the most progressive of taxes. If you live on a champagne, caviar and steak budget you will pay more than I pay for my diet soft drink, beans and hamburger helper. I just wish it would apply to politicians and their 10,000 dollar a plate fundraising dinners.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  143. Ken

    Why is it the only solution to any government shortfall is to raise taxes or we will have to cut first responders. Is there really no administrators in government anymore? Maybe they should be the "first " to respond to the budget cuts. I own a business and if I simply raised prices when I overspent, my clients would dump my butt. OH wait there's a solution to the Govt response. We can dump them!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  144. Karen Kusek

    We've had a tax on food here in Chicago all my life. We're already paying 10.25% sales tax on non-food items and 2.75% on food. I think all levels of government should look at their budget like everyone else - cut back on what you're spending the money on. Prioritize! The average person cannot say to their boss, this is how much money you need to give me for the next year because this is how I want to spend it. We'd be kicked out of our job if we did that. A lot of government programs on all levels are good and beneficial programs, but sometimes, even if something is good, we just can't afford it. The only tax on food I would support would be on non-essential items - processed food, candy, soda, and the like. Milk, bread, meat, vegetables and fruits should not be taxed.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  145. Mike

    Who do I tax if I can't pay my bills?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  146. Todd jones

    There are a lot of things that are not right. Long ago if you worked for the government, city or state your job was secure. We no longer live in those times. If millions have lost there jobs then those who had security should be at risk versus making everyone pay for others mistakes and or shortfalls. I will have to move out of the country if this keeps up.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  147. mike

    Yes, the thing about that is EVERYONE will pay. Nothing fairer than that (except for a flat tax).
    If the people don't like it, then petition politicians to cut spending.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  148. David in BC

    2%? Ha!
    Come up to BC Canada where this summer our "government" is increasing almost everything including grocery food and restaurant meals by 5% or 7% (those items that are already at 12% tax are staying the same).

    February 5, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  149. Bob S in Clearwater FL

    JACK: This is the ultimate insult; families are already squeezed between housing & energy costs; food is the only discretionary area.
    What's wrong wth these councillors? Why don't they apply for funding to preserve these jobs, if they're so essential?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  150. Don Croy

    Taxing food makes as much sense as using food to make ethanol for our cars.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  151. Chris R. Minford,Ohio

    Thats it Im running away and joining the Amish!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  152. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Basic food should not be tax, but luxury items should be taxed instead and prepared foods should be tax in order for people to buy more fresh food.

    I never understood why fresh food cost more at times when prepared foods that requires more preparation is actually cheaper in some instances...but is costly to your health!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  153. Jim Marino

    This is nothing new in the battle to preserve bloated bureaucracy and evade making any spending cuts.. The only mistake the City of Pheonix is making is calling it a tax straight up. More clever municipal governments usually disguise these kinds of rip-offs in terms like fees, fines, imposts and charges. They carefully avoid the dreaded "T" word especially these days in order to avoid a Tea Party!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  154. Joseph Kavanaugh

    You know why Aliens dont land in the US??? They do not have enough money for landing taxes...

    Postal Joe
    Rock Hill , NY

    February 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  155. Leslie

    Howdy Jack,
    When I moved to the Northern panhandle of West Virginia in 1999 I was shocked to learn that there is a 4% sales tax on food. My solution? I go grocery shopping in Ohio and buy my clothes in Pennsylvania. Unfortunatlely, those folks in Phoenix will have to drive a long way to avoid the tax.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  156. Ron Breen

    Taxing most things is simply government heavy-handedness. Taxing essential life resources such as food and medical supplies/services is unconsionable. There are several possible effective alternatives.
    1) Shut down government offices OTHER than EMT, Fire and Police (everything else is dispensible – starting with city council seats)
    2) Re-draw the city limits so the council has less to pay for – let the county handle it.
    3) Whoever can do so – move out of Phoenix.
    4) Replace your bloated government by firing your elected officials at the next election
    5) Establish an effective T.E.A. Party (that's Taxed Enough Already).

    Nationally, elected officials have gotten a little too froggy for me... I am affraid that this hubris is beginning to spread to many state, county and municipal governments.

    Remeber – governments and elected officials work for US, we DO NOT work for them.

    If it is wrong -- fight it in whatever effective way is available.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  157. reid mckinley ocean view nj

    reprehensible–shame on you phoenix!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  158. Matt- West Chester, PA

    I think a sound fiscal policy from the get go would have been a better decision than the decision to tax people who are already heavily burdened. This is yet more firepower for small government supporters and tea party activists alike!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  159. Jim Riley

    Did I hear let them eat cake ,,, that didn't go over so well either.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  160. Colin Young

    With each and every day we come closer to a revolution in America.
    The coruption and incompetence of our two party system is beyond repair.

    You would think the election of Scott Brown in Mass. would be a wake up call the the powers that be ..... but it seems, it's gone right over their heads.

    No, no, no to tax on food.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  161. David M. Johnson

    Taxing to resolve budget issues is as stupid as building cars in a country that can't afford to purchase those vehicles.Employ America, and Americans will resolve all of these issues, or force our trading partners to pay their labor force, so that they can afford to purchase the products that they produce as well as American made products and services.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  162. connie

    Jack, I don't know what Alabama has been doing with it, but we've been paying tax on food for years in Alabama. It adds up too; especially on a large bill of groceries. So, most of the time I go across the border into Florida and buy the large portion of my groceries there. I am fortunate to live close to the border, but some don't, and it forces them to pay the tax, like it or not. Is it fair....no....will they ever change it....no....why does Alabama feel the need for this tax when it's one of the poorest states in the union....I don't know. Maybe you can get the answer from our legislators....they're mostly Republicans.....what's that about Republicans don't believe in taxes?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  163. Steve Shelby

    The potential interuptions in municipal services that Phoenix faces right now due to budget shortfalls are beyond the point of simple down-sizing. Tax increases and budget cuts are neccessary in order for the city to remain a viable place to live. Keeping the city safe and desireable for both businesses and residents is essential. It is not an option for debate. Tax increases in the form of a 'regressive' tax on food products is a very bad way to approach this problem. I certainly would hope for a more progressive solution than what amounts to a tax on poor people.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  164. Gary in USA

    The Economist Magazine has reported that Government employees are paid 20% more than their civiilian counterparts. Seems to me that Government paychecks should be reduced by 20% before taxing food.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  165. Will S. (from Chicago)

    Phoenix is a "Sanctuary City" for thousands of illegal immigrants, where's all the tax revenue/economic bang that Pro-Immigration groups say they "contribute" to the economy? Chicago is headed down this same unfortunate path as we have many "bleeding heart, Open-borders" clergy and leaders here. I consider myself an Independent, but I'll be voting Republican this Fall and maybe in 2012 as well!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  166. Kruppcakes

    This type of tax is grossly unfair and in fact, the WORST kind of tax - levying nearly the same burden on every person with no consideration for income and/or ability to pay. Like income tax, it should be a graduated tax - and the rich, especially CORPORATIONS, should definitely be paying more.....

    February 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  167. Mary Brehm

    In Blount County, Tennessee we pay 9.25 % sales tax on goods and groceries. On top of that we have been informed that PEL grants have been reduced for college students starting with the 2010-2011 school year, and that our state medical care program, Tenn Care is closed to new applicants.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  168. Pam from MA

    No it is not. What's next? Taxing the air that we breath? It's so easy for government to want to tax us one items that we have to have to survive. These so called "temporary" taxes never end. They are also never enough. Government needs to learn how to function with less money just like the rest of us.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  169. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    These people have wined and dined themselves too long and now they want to tax the food off the tables of struggling citizens. They should be asked to give up their salaries over the next five years to fix the budget shortfall if they're really concerned about saving 1,400 jobs.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  170. Marcia Falk

    Phoenix Arizona pols have gone mad to plan on taxing FOOD, a basic life necessity. Watch, the next thing the beurocrats in Arizona are going to tax is going to the bathroom. They will hire a firm to monitor the flushes in everyone's home and call it a luxury tax. These officials are digging a fiscal grave deeper and deeper. Municipalities have been spending excessively for years and refuse to realize that budgets have to be cut, jobs have to be lost and people have to realize that government is going to provide less. and less in the future. Taxing food is a desperate act of hubris and will hurt those that can least afford to spend more on feeding themselves and their families.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  171. Jackie Ragland

    Two percent !!!!! Try eight percent. That's what we pay on food and everything else in "The Great State of Alabama'. And it didn't take a recession for it to happen.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  172. Greg M

    This is just wrong. This tax most affects the ones who can least afford it. This is another example of poorly managed government and why more government is not the solution to America's problems. How many governments work to be fiscally conservative and responsibe when it is so easy to steal from the people by enacting a tax to fix what the government failed to do - responsible fiscal management, cutting cost and non-essential services when it is called for.

    Greg M
    North Carolina

    February 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  173. Tom Devine

    Jack, you seem surprised at govt. taxing food, but here in Pell City, AL . we already pay 9% and city govt. just announced a 1% raise later this year.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  174. Robert Ernster

    South Dakotans have paid sales tax on food ever since I can remember and that goes back to the 1940s. It's currently 6%. We have some of the poorest people in the US on our Indian Reservations. Somehow, everyone eats in spite of the tax. We don't have a State Income Tax as a result.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  175. Ron Scurry

    Most of us strongly believe food should not be taxed. However, those that impose taxes feel strongly that everybody should pay taxes and that sales taxes are the fairest in that we all pay sales taxes when we make purchases. They fail to understand that taxing the poorest of the poor only adds to their economic distress. We should do away with all taxes on food and medicine. Simple as that. But to do that would cause the rich to scream the poor are not paying their fair share and its the rich who make the rules and write tax law.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  176. Kathy

    Hey jack:
    Hawaii charges a 4.016% on any and everything you purchase, including food, medical, even a trip to the attorney's office. Tell Arizona if they want their police and senior centers, the money has to come from somewhere. It doesn't grow on cactus.
    Kathy W.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  177. nana

    Get rid of the local government, privatize the managment of the city and turn a profit. 2 thirds of Americans have a negative view of socialism especially if they have to pay more taxes for these social services. They however don't mind paying high dollars for services if they are run by private entities.

    Leave the social services to socialist countries. Long live capitalism

    February 5, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  178. Juanita Streysman

    How dumb, taxing a necessity that every person needs to survive. I live in Buckeye, Arizona and I love this state but to tax food is the worst idea these lawmakers have ever made ( amoung others).lol

    February 5, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  179. mary anne

    Welcome to Arizona, Jack. It's as corrupt as DC. Consider that city we all need to visit for golf, sun, desert, taxed everything: "The Most Livable City in the West" Scottsdale AZ . It has had a store food tax since the first city manager gave away the city to the Scottsdale public "servants" who average a higher annual salary than the average Scottsdale resident, and they get bennies even better than the UAW and AFT/ Teachers Unions have extorted from all the rest of the middle class-and they kept right on going up through 2009- thanks to President Obama's Best Kept-Only Kept- Promises."

    February 5, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  180. lloyd mcghaney, roosevelt, ny

    If your house burned down for lack of firemen, thats more than years of a food tax.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  181. Jessie HUNTSVILLE AL

    That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! Most people are on a budget and to think that anyone could afford to pay anymore for food is ludicrous. Those politicians need to go back to the drawing board and really evaluate where their money is really going. Every month my husband and I sit down and figure out how to pay our bills, put food on the table and in the lunchboxes of our children.If we can live on a budget let local governments do and then maybe they will learn what the working poor and lower middle class already know....if you don't have in cash you don't buy it!
    Phoenix really needs to get a grip on reality!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  182. Steve

    I think the tax is a necessary evil. If needbe, you could shelter the poor and those on fixed incomes by providing utilitiy assistance, food stamp supplements for those who fall below specific income levels.

    Another option is to crack down on the almost 600,000 illegal immigrants in the state of Arizona, but most politicians won't touch that with a ten foot pole.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  183. Jeff Leesburg, VA

    Jack – Enjoying the snow thanks! It is disturbing to me that our politicians can't figure out that when you live above your means you simply need to trim the fat. I also can't believe that more of our states, cities, and towns don't have more rainy day funds when there is a short fall. The real answer isn't taxes...it is jobs, jobs, jobs. We have heard that before now haven't we? When you take the out the base of the economic pyramid (the recent job losses) and except the top block (the rich) to pay for it all it simply will topple over. We are simply on the cusp! We need to stop taking and spending and put more people to work!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  184. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Abraham Maslow told us about our "hierarchy of human needs".

    Any regressive tax goes over 'big' with those who have the power and wealth and expend a tiny portion of that wealth on the 'basics' such as food.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  185. Jeff in Minnesota

    As much as cities, counties and states need to raise revenues to meet their shortfalls, necessities cannot be taxed. Such taxes are very regressive against the poor and lower middle class and actually do more harm than good by raising the number of people needing services as well as raising subsidies for those groups. As a result, a large chunk of what you raise, goes right back out to support those that cannot afford the increased taxes.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  186. Mike

    Here in Alabama food is taxed the same as other items. Of course, our total taxes (income, property, sales, etc) are among the lowest in the country. Still, people here complain about paying taxes on food because many other states don't. The state receiving taxes on food hasn't made them any smarter about keeping our state budget under control.

    Giving the government more money is not usually a good idea. Five year taxes tend to become permanent. If their Governor and Congress don't have the will to cut the budget to accommodate it now, elect one that does have the will. If you are an Arizona resident, vote out every politician who wants to raise your taxes instead of cut their budget. I bet there are enough pork barrel projects in the budget that could be cut to pay for it. Once they do that, and only if they do, then consider a tax.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  187. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Will Phoenix ever be able to rise from the ashes?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  188. Resistance

    Now when the elites tell there friends, "Let them eat Cake"
    There will be a 2% recapture, defraying of the cost of the cake.

    "Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest.
    Napoleon Bonaparte"

    I saw a poll on CNN .......36% of Americans have a positive view of socialism

    Wake up banker class, OBAMA either you focus on the real solution to meet the peoples needs, because of “self interest “

    Or face the consequences out of fear

    The people go restless; we don't want left over cake.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  189. Alice Spies

    It's 2 percent Jack... 2 %! Spend $100... cost is 2 bucks... Wow, that's not even a latte here. Yes, it is a regressive tax , so I'm sure that those governing did not take this decision lightly...to make such an unpopular decision they must consider the loss of these services to be much more detrimental to the citizens. You "anti-government guys" just don't seem to get it... things like police service and other local government services HAVE TO BE PAID FOR AND ARE NECESSARY FOR THE GOOD OF THE WHOLE!! These are not frivolous expenditures or easy decisions. I admire them for having the guts to propose such a thing in this political climate... they (elected officials)are obviously putting their own jobs on the line doing so. Having worked for a local city government for 19 years, I've seen how these services are ALWAYS underfunded - even in good times, LARGELY THANKS TO the selfish, self-centered, government hating people like you who don't want to pay one cent more in taxes... even if that means Grandma won't be able to get to the senior center for the $2 lunch and the kid who does not have home internet access will not be able to use it at the library now either. Forget the police no longer there to respond to calls. Have a burglary? Sorry, not a priority... no staff to field the call. It seems so simple to me. What in life is free? You have to pay... ONE WAY ...or THE OTHER.
    PS: The poor will most likely be using food stamps to pay for their food, so not as regressive as you make out.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  190. Pat from Connecticut

    Why don't we just create a tax system that is what it is – we continually instead waste too much time thinking what can be taxed that hasn't been taxed yet. Gosh, now that may save us $$$, wouldn't it?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  191. Kirk

    Another reason to produce my own food.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  192. Resistance

    It's always the same tactic in Arizona politics.

    Threaten the cutting of needed services if they don't get more money.

    Never mind the people have stated get rid of the pork, the waste fraud and abuse.
    Politicians thrive on those things because it keeps getting them relected.
    The poor have no advocate willing to pay to play

    February 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  193. ralph

    At least the food tax will raise SOME revenue from the huge pool of undocumented in that area. They have to eat so they must pay. My apologies to the REAL AMERICANS on fixed income who shall suffer.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  194. ck

    About the Phoenix food tax bill!... I think it is terrible..........I'm a senior citizen who can get only $16.00 a month food stamps and can not even have money left over for my sewer, water or Electric, after paying my main bills . Much less have money for food. I have to depend on selling my things now for over 1 yr.,just to get money for food And I count ever penny I spend. With all the Casino's out here. You would think that the state would have enough money to take care of the State budget. I count my money, right down to the tax's when I go to buy food. To me every penny counts. Shame on the govermment officials in my state.
    Ck in Phoenix

    February 5, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  195. Charles

    I live in Mesa Az. I'm diabetic, and live paycheck to paycheck. After I pay the Fed tax and State tax, I will not have enough money for food for an entire month. With a 2% tax hike, I will have less food. In the middle of all of this, AIG Executives will be recieving some hefty bonuses. This is extraordinary unethical and immoral behavior.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  196. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Have a really great weekend...Enjoy the game! Hope you will not get too much snow!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  197. jen verklin

    Hi there – gotta tell you or someone at cnn – the world map that you all
    have been showing in red tonight – the countries look like steaks – its not that attractive – I felt the need to go cook a steak!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  198. jd

    Taxing food is not the answer. Legalize and tax marijuana is the answer. How much money is spent on the war on drugs specifically marijuana?

    February 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  199. Tom H.

    A local tax on food will send shoppers to nearby communities that don't tax. Unless the tax is statewide, local businesses forced to collect the food tax will be hurt.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
  200. lloyd mcghaney, roosevelt, ny

    If your house burned down for lack of firemen, the loss is more than years of you paying a food tax.

    February 5, 2010 at 8:59 pm |