- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 16, 2016

It’s a one-two punch that may loosen your sweet tooth.

While the company that makes M&Ms announced Thursday that it may stop licensing the colorful chocolate candies for use in ice-cream treats at McDonald’s, the city of Philadelphia enacted a sin tax on soda.

“An industry source familiar with Mars’ thinking said the company has had talks with the world’s largest fast-food chain and other partners about its candies’ inclusion in super sugary products,” Reuters reported.

“The company has promised publicly to limit sugar in all of its products to match guidelines from the world’s leading health authorities, including the World Health Organization,” the British news wire reported. “A Mars spokesman declined to discuss details of any discussions with partners. But, in a statement to Reuters, the spokesman said, ‘We are now working alongside our suppliers and customers to bring this commitment to life.’”

Meanwhile in downtown Philadelphia, lawmakers in the City of Brotherly Love formally approved a soda tax, which goes into effect Jan. 1.

The new tax “will help improve the education, health and prosperity of children and families all across our city for years to come,” cheered Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, The Associated Press reported.

Critics have charged Mr. Kenney with cynically packaging the “nanny state initiative” as a promising untapped source of cash for politically-desirable projects.

What’s “[t]he game-changing strategy to sell a regressive tax that will disproportionately hit the pockets of the poor, as well as grant even more power to the government to regulate the personal choices of private citizens?” Reason magazine’s Anthony Fisher asked rhetorically in a June 9 blog post. “Framing it as a revenue source, rather than as a do-gooder health measure.

“[U]nlike [former New York City Mayor] Bloomberg’s initiatives, the City of Brotherly Love will make some money on policing people’s diets,” Mr. Fisher wrote. “As Mayor Kenney’s spokesman was quoted as saying in the [New York] Times’ article, ‘It was always about the revenue.’”

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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