January 9, 2013

Another View: Nemitz, governor on the same page, for once -- on soda limits

By Linda Converse

The temperature in hell must be dropping rapidly and it will probably freeze over any minute now.

For the first time that I can remember, I actually agree with a column by Bill Nemitz, and Bill Nemitz actually agrees with something Paul LePage proposed! ("Is that Gov. LePage picking a soda fight? Sweet!" Jan. 6)

Nemitz's recent column outlining the proposal to ban soft drinks from being purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits is right on.

I have long been of the opinion that, as in the Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program, SNAP benefits should have a list of healthy things that are included and should be limited to just those items.

The author Nemitz quoted, writer Michele Simon, makes an excellent point. She stated, "People are free to use their own money as they choose. But we make decisions all the time about how tax dollars are spent."

My local convenience store probably makes at least half of its profits from food stamps, even though there is an excellent Asian produce market a couple of blocks away, and a Hannaford supermarket two or three blocks in the other direction -- well within walking distance.

Most of the time when I stop in, I seem to be the only person in there who is not using food stamps.

Recently I was behind a woman who was buying six sodas, six bags of chips and six ice cream bars with food stamps and paying cash for a 30-pack of beer.

I feel frustrated when I see my tax dollars being wasted this way. I agree with Nemitz that this is a battle worth waging.

Linda Converse is a resident of Biddeford.

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