Neutral on the Soda TaxTo the Editor:
For almost 80 years, Save the Children has been successfully making a difference in the lives of children, from Haiti to Ethiopia, from Bangladesh to Booneville, Ky. We are the largest independent organization working for children in poverty.
I want to address some statements made in “Save the Children Backs Away From Soda Tax Campaign” (Business Day, Dec. 15) that give the impression that corporate special interests influenced our decision to withdraw support for a tax on soda.
We never allow corporate or any other special interests to take priority over the greater needs of children.
Our decision neither to oppose nor support a soda excise tax is based on a longstanding practice of not getting involved in hot-button issues that will distract us and our supporters from our fundamental mission — saving children.
Save the Children’s mission is to take on complex issues like childhood obesity, a serious problem affecting as many as half the children served by our programs in the United States.
With our partners, we are advocating for better school menu choices, for increased physical education and for behavior changes to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and help families make healthier choices.
We stand by our decision on the soda excise tax initiative and the transparency with which we conduct our work to make lasting positive change for impoverished children and families in the United States and around the world.
C.E.O., Save the Children
Westport, Conn., Dec. 15, 2010