MLR

Tax melts away ‘sweet’ summer memories

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The Wall Street Journal reports that the taxing authorities in Finland have inadvertently found a way to eliminate another joy of childhood – the ubiquitous ice cream truck.

It seems that after decades of delivering frozen treats, Finland’s ice cream trucks will go out of business after this summer – a casualty of a new excise tax on sweets that has driven the price of ice cream up by 60 percent.

Nestle and Unilever have dominated the ice cream truck market in Finland for the past 20 years. Now both companies have said the summer of 2013 will be the last for their ice cream trucks.

To raise new revenue, in 2011 the Finnish government imposed an excise tax on sugary goods like soda, candy and ice cream, which has raised the retail price of ice cream by the equivalent of 60 cents per pound. Per capita consumption has dropped by 20 percent.

While many Finnish children may be sad to see the ice cream trucks go the way of the milkman, not a few adults are applauding the sounds of silence. No longer will their peaceful summer afternoons be interrupted by the annoying jingle that herald’s the truck’s presence in their neighborhood.

“I’m your ice cream man; stop me when I’m passing by. They say all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy.” – Van Halen – “Ice Cream Man”