A Food Tax is Wrong for California Families

The Administration has proposed increasing a food tax to help balance the state’s budget deficit. This proposal aims to raise an additional $33 million annually by increasing the pesticide mill tax from 21 mills to over 28.6 mills over three years, with the vast majority of the increase being introduced this year. This 60% tax hike, combined with higher registration and licensing fees, would drive up the cost of food production and burden families with higher grocery bills.

Families in California are already struggling with the rising cost of living. Over the past three years, essential expenses have skyrocketed nationally:

  • Gas: +55.5%
  • Groceries: +21.3%
  • Eating out: +21.8%
  • Baby food: +30%
  • Pet food: +23.1%
  • K-12 food: +64.9%
  • Rent: +20.8%
  • Electricity: +28.5%
  • Natural gas: +22%
  • Used cars: +20.4%
  • Airfare: +38.2%
  • Public transportation: +26.1%

Adding a $33 million tax on food to fund the increased cost of government will worsen these financial pressures. This tax would disproportionately impact the most vulnerable, making it harder for families to afford basic necessities.

The Importance of Pesticides

Mother Nature can be harsh on the plants and trees that provide our food. Harmful insects and diseases can wipe out crops, leaving fields empty and grocery store shelves bare. Today, we depend on advanced farming methods, including pesticides, when necessary to safeguard our food supply. 

Climate change, global trade, and increased travel have heightened the risk of invasive species, making effective pest control more critical than ever. 

Given pesticides’ critical role in maintaining a stable food supply, a massive first-year increase in the mill tax is a misguided approach. Rather than addressing budget deficits through measures that would increase food costs, we must examine how this food tax impacts the families it feeds. 

Instead of imposing a $33 million food tax, the state should explore alternative solutions that do not place additional financial burdens on already struggling households. The current proposal to increase the mill tax is not just a financial maneuver; it represents a fundamental shift in priorities that could jeopardize the well-being of millions of Californians. 

California Food Tax


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