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Maintaining Health and Long-Term Care: A Survey on Arkansas' Food, Medicine, and Soda Pop Tax

A constitutional amendment has been proposed in Arkansas to eliminate taxes on food (including groceries and restaurant meals), over-the-counter medicines, and soda pop. The elimination of these taxes will result in a loss of state and local revenues and reduce the funding and delivery of state services including health and long-term care services. The amendment has no provisions to replace this lost revenue.

A majority of registered Arkansas voters age 18+ oppose the proposed amendment. If, however, there were to be an alternative proposal to eliminate only the taxes on food and non-prescription medicines, they would strongly support keeping the soda pop tax, which generates revenues specifically for health and long-term care services.

At the same time, a large majority of surveyed voters indicated that, if the amendment passes and the food, non-prescription medicines and soda pop taxes were eliminated, they would favor replacing lost revenues by increasing the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes.

Between September 26 and October 9, 2002, the Southeastern Institute of Research conducted a telephone survey of 801 Arkansas registered voters age 18 and older. The data was analyzed and the report written by Joanne Binette of AARP Knowledge Management who may be contacted for more information at 202/434-6303. (17 pages)

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