Nanny State

Taxing Brown Rice Cakes and Math Blasters to Slim Down NY Fat Kids

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Remember Felix Ortiz? He was the New York legislator who introduced a bill banning the use of salt in restaurant kitchens last year. The salt ban didn't go anywhere, but he's back at it with a new bill that's a bit more politically savvy (read: still a terrible idea but not actually completely insane): A tax on snack food and video entertainment.

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Ortiz has noticed that kids are getting kind of fat, so he's slapping a wee little tax—one quarter of one percent—on sales of all the foods listed as sweets or snacks in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, plus a tax on sale and rentals of video games and movies and game controllers. (A faint silver lining: Reading this bill taught me what DVD stands for. Digital Versatile Disk, apparently. Who knew?) That money goes to an "Childhood Obesity Prevention Program Fund." But the tax fails to distinguish between good and bad snack, and good and bad video games. So in the name of obesity prevention, education games will get hit, as will these USDA-listed snacks:

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Snacks, rice cakes, brown rice, plain

Snacks, granola bar, fruit-filled, nonfat

Snacks, popcorn, air-popped

Snacks, trail mix, regular, unsalted

Ortiz was Reason.tv's Nanny of the Month in March. He's clearly gunning for another round.

Via CCF.