Hungary introduces “fat tax” on unhealthy foods

A new bill found it’s way onto the political docket in Hungary earlier this week, that if passed would create the world’s first “fat tax.” The Eastern European country’s parliament will now consider the bill, which would raise the price of foods that are deemed as unhealthy. Proceeds from the new law would then be used to cover the rising costs of state-funded health care.

When the bill was originally drafted a few months back, it was immediately dubbed as “the hamburger tax,” but later the Hungarian government decided that fast food restaurants would not be subject to the new tax. Instead, they’ve chosen to levy the tariff on items found in grocery and convenience stores that are deemed to have too much salt, sugar, or fat. If the law goes into effect, those items would go up in price by 3.7 eurocents or roughly 5¢. There will also be a 10% increase in the price of liquor and soft drinks as well.

The bill will be debated by the Hungarian Parliament later this summer, but is expected to easily pass into law, making the country the first to actually institute higher fees on unhealthy foods. It is estimated that the law would generate as much as 111 million Euros or approximately $157.6 million. Those funds that are sorely needed to help keep Hungary’s cash-strapped health care system afloat.

What are your thoughts on this so-called fat tax? Would you pay a little more for foods you love that might be deemed as unhealthy? Is this any different than the so called “sin tax” on cigarettes or alcohol?

Flight delays may be wrinkle in Ryanair fat tax

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary says he’ll only move forward with plans to charge oversized passengers for extra seats if it’s easy. If it slows down the process of checking people in and getting planes pushed back from the gate, he wants no part of making more money.

Surprisingly, O’Leary didn’t comment on whether larger passengers would slow planes down, causing further delays. The media whore controversy-prone CEO – who then wonders why “idiot bloggers” treat him as we do – is known for offering journalists the outrageous and then wondering why they publish it.

Unsurprisingly, O’Leary used the phrase “fat tax” in a press conference. Specifically, “We are not going to introduce a fat tax unless it is easy to administer,” as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.

While the public actually voted in favor of this measure, it’s nonetheless been a lightning rod for criticism. With typical panache, O’Leary says, ostensibly to critics, that a fat tax is not against the law, which is the company’s usual standard for behavior.

And, when all else fails, “we can make it a safety issue.”