Press Release: “State of the Mountain State,” West Virginians Oppose Soda Tax Expansion


December 5, 2018 



Amanda Kieffer, Communications Associate at The Cardinal Institute for WV Policy

PHONE: (304) 541-9551 |  EMAIL: [email protected]

 Final Results from 2018 “State of the Mountain State Poll” Show 65 Percent of West Virginians Oppose a Soda Tax

 Charleston, WV – Today the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy releases the last round of results from its 2018 “State of the Mountain State” poll, a survey of registered voters across West Virginia on a host of policy issues. The final installment tackles the controversial “soda tax,” an additional tax levied on sodas, drink syrups and powders, and other sweetened beverages.

The survey found that 65 percent of West Virginians oppose expanding the current state tax on soda, drink syrups and powders to include all sugar-sweetened beverages such as iced teas and juice to fund more government spending.

Previous releases from the survey showed that when examining the economic outlook in the Mountain State, many West Virginians felt that the future wasn’t very bright. While proposals to raise taxes have seen some support in the past, it is clear from this survey that an expansion of the soda tax is not viewed as a favorable solution by the majority of West Virginians.

While 13 percent of West Virginians believe that reforming the state’s tax code will have the most positive impact on the state’s economy, more believe the state should focus on improving opportunities for small businesses through grants and loans (16 percent) and even more believe that West Virginia’s K-12 education system would have the most positive impact on the economy (21 percent).

“The ‘soda tax’ is a policy that seems to come up every year as a way to finance more government expenditures, so we thought it would be a good idea to measure how West Virginians feel about an expansion of this particular tax,” said Garrett Ballengee, Executive Director of the Cardinal Institute. “Unsurprisingly, the expansion of the soda tax to include an increasing number of beverages is unpopular public policy and likely comes across as heavy-handed and paternalistic.”


To schedule an interview, contact Amanda Kieffer at 304-541-9551 or [email protected].

About the Cardinal Institute

The Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy, Inc. is a 501c(3) non-profit founded in 2014 dedicated to research, develop and communicate effective free market economic public policies for West Virginia.

Tax Policy Question:

Do you support or oppose a proposal by some government leaders to expand the current state tax on soda, drink syrups and powders to include all sugar-sweetened beverages such as iced teas and juice to fund more government spending?

(9%) Strongly support

(23%) Somewhat support

(26%) Somewhat oppose

(39%) Strongly oppose

(4%) Dk/Na/Rf (DNR)


Previously Released Questions Pertaining to Tax Policy in West Virginia:

 Do you agree or disagree the state government wastes a significant amount of tax dollars on programs and policies that are not necessary?

(45%) Strongly agree

(39%) Somewhat agree

(10%) Somewhat disagree

(2%) Strongly disagree

(5%) Dk/Na/Rf (DNR)

Thinking specifically about the state’s economy, which of the following measures do you believe would have the most positive impact on our job market and economy?

(13%) Reforming the state tax code

(29%) Improving the state’s roads, highways and other infrastructure

(12%) Reducing the number of government regulations on businesses

(21%) Improving the states K-12 education system

(16%) Increasing government funding for small and start up business grants and loans (6%) Spending more tax dollars to promote tourism in West Virginia

(3%) Dk/Na/Rf (DNR)

Which of these issues is most important to you in determining who you would vote for?

(6%) Lowering Taxes

(31%) Creating jobs

(15%) Stopping drug abuse

(16%) Improving West Virginia roads and infrastructure

(8%) Improving education

(4%) Raising taxes on the wealthy

(5%) Eliminating the income tax on all West Virginia workers

(7%) Controlling government spending

(4%) Protecting the environment

(4%) Other

(2%) Unsure

(–) None

(–) Combination

Survey Note:
The survey was sponsored by the Cardinal Institute for WV Policy to better understand the perceptions and opinions of 405 West Virginia registered voters on a host of public policy issues. It was conducted by MBE, LLC. Some totals may not equal 100 percent due to rounding. The survey was conducted via online panel sampling during September 2018. Respondents self-identified as:
(42%) Democrat; (33%) Republican; (25%) Independent/other


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