Young and Hungry

The Ultimate Sin Tax


When budgets run short, American lawmakers love to take a bite out of those trio of scoundrels known as gasoline, tobacco, and alcohol, with the hope that governments will fill their coffers and we'll cut down our consumption.  Never mind that taxes haven't helped much in at least one category.

But now comes the news that Finland is going to levy a tax on (gasp!) those sweet things that get us (and presumably even the cold-to-the-bone Finlanders) through the day. Consider this report from Helsingin Sanomat:

On Thursday, the government decided in its general session that a tax is to be levied on candies and similar sweets, chocolate, cocoa products, ice cream, and popsicles or ice lollies.

Initially the tax on sweets was supposed to be the equivalent of almost one euro per kilogram, but now the tax has been set at 75 cents a kilo.

The tax on sweets was last in force in 1999. At that time (still in the markka era) the tax was the equivalent of EUR 0.58/kg of sweets.

The planned tax will increase the prices of sweets by some 1 to 15 per cent, while the price of ice cream could rise even more than that. The tax is to come into force from the beginning of next year.

Interestingly enough, according to the article, "[b]iscuits and sweet buns and pastries will be exempt from taxation." I guess the government knows not to fuck with the Finnish pulla coffee ritual.

Given our budget shortfalls, grinding economy, and childhood obesity, could America be far behind on this sweet tax trend?

Photo by hozinja via Flickr Creative Commons, Attribution License

  • Keli

    This is the worst idea I've ever heard. Does Finland not want it's people to enjoy life? If America taxed anything, it should be high fructose corn syrup. That's what's making everyone obese.

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