Eli Berkowitz is the proprietor of Little Rhody Meals.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating financial impression on working households and small companies throughout Rhode Island. This consists of Little Rhody Meals. Simply as we’re starting to get well, the Common Meeting is proposing a beverage tax that can make it more durable for us to inventory native merchandise and hold our costs low. Finally, it might even imply closing our doorways for good and residents not gaining access to the on a regular basis groceries and iconic Rhode Island beverage merchandise we distribute.
Little Rhody Meals is a family-owned enterprise began within the Fifties by immigrants looking for the American Dream. Right this moment, we distribute lots of Rhode Island’s favourite native merchandise like Del’s Lemonade, Autocrat Espresso Syrup, Twin Oaks pasta sauces, Wright’s Farm salad dressings, and Granny Squibb’s iced tea, amongst many different grocery gadgets.
But when Rhode Island’s legislators implement this proposed beverage tax, it’ll threaten the manufacturing of most of the domestically produced drinks and different merchandise we promote. Nonetheless, we’re most involved about our staff, who’re like household to us, and will as soon as once more face unpredictable job safety after having simply gone by way of an extremely tough 12 months.
Supporters of the beverage tax promote this coverage thought as a approach to punish “large soda.” What they don’t understand is that the injury they’re doing is definitely to us and native Rhode Island companies.
2020 posed unimaginable challenges for Rhode Island’s enterprise neighborhood, with worker hours lower, widespread layoffs, and beloved small companies closing their doorways for good. These companies want help as they navigate the restoration. This tax provides to our angst as a result of it’ll impression costs, gross sales, capability to retain staff, capability to promote merchandise prospects love, and it’ll have an effect on our backside line.
The laws would place a 1.5-cent tax on many drinks that Rhode Islanders take pleasure in. This worth improve provides up quick, amounting to important will increase on affected merchandise like sodas, juice drinks, flavored waters, lemonade, sports activities drinks, espresso milk syrup and extra. Companies like ours already function on skinny margins and including one more price will gradual the trouble to get our ft on the bottom simply because the summer season season approaches. However greater than that, it’ll have an effect on hard-working staff, as we’ve seen it price jobs somewhere else like Philadelphia.
We care in regards to the well being of our neighborhood, and it’s crucial that we tackle the crucial problem of meals insecurity. But, we’re sure there are more practical methods to enhance public well being than implementing a beverage tax that can devastate lots of Rhode Island’s native companies and inflict monetary insecurity on working households if costs go up.
For years, native companies like ours have been devoted to serving Rhode Islanders. At Little Rhody Meals we’re proud to usually contribute to a basis to assist most cancers sufferers and their households with nonmedical bills. We all know small companies are a lot extra to a neighborhood than simply the merchandise they promote. That is what makes native companies so particular.
We wish to proceed to make use of our voice to advocate for our local people, which is why we’re standing up in opposition to this dangerous beverage tax. We ask you to do the identical in telling the Rhode Island Common Meeting to vote no on Home Invoice H-5715.