Democracy Dies in Darkness

Letters to the Editor | Opinion

Preemption laws can protect vulnerable communities

September 10, 2018 at 6:05 PM

A soda machine in San Francisco in 2014. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

In her Sept. 6 Thursday Opinion essay, “A new breed of naked corporatism,” Kim Haddow depicted preemption laws as uniformly damaging. That was misleading and failed to address how such laws can protect vulnerable communities. The legislation passed in California she cited will ensure that the state’s most vulnerable communities are not saddled with an unfair and regressive tax. The reality is that beverage taxes target the people who can least afford them: working families, people of color and small businesses. Just look at what happened in Philadelphia, Cook County, Ill., and other localities when beverage taxes were imposed: Small businesses experienced huge drops in sales and were forced to cut employee hours or eliminate jobs.

The fight against beverage taxes is about keeping groceries affordable for families, including many in my own church community who are already struggling to make ends meet. Ms. Haddow’s charges of “corporatism” serve only to distract from the very real economic struggles that hard-working families and small businesses face.

Rev. Kip Banks Sr., Upper Marlboro

The writer, senior pastor
of East Washington Heights Baptist Church
in Washington, is director of advocacy for the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

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