Texas is considering a $1.5 million tax on pumpkin pies and other “frozen foods,” the Associated Press reports.
The Texas Legislature is scheduled to take up the measure at its annual meeting Tuesday.
The tax would apply to food and beverages that have been “frosted, cooled, frozen or otherwise frozen to an extent that will preserve the natural flavor and aroma of the food.”
The tax, if approved, would apply on products like frozen custard and frozen chocolate bars, but it would also apply to ice cream and “other frozen foods” like fruit.
“This is a significant tax on the consumers who choose to purchase these products,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman John Shimkus, R-Texas.
The Associated Press writes that “a growing number of states have tried to tax or restrict the sale of frozen foods like candy bars and ice cream to encourage consumers to purchase them less frequently and buy more locally.”
“I think it’s important for people to know that you can still have the frozen treats and the frozen custards,” Rep. Scott Tipton, R.I., said in an interview with The Associated Post.
“You can have the pie, but I don’t think it is a good idea to eat it.”
Tiptons legislation would allow for a maximum one-time tax of $2 per ounce, and the bill’s author, Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., told the AP that the tax would also be a way to encourage people to buy “local.”
Texas is a hotbed of consumer concerns about the tax, and some Republicans in the state have called for it to be rolled back.
The AP reports that Rep. Steve Stockman, R and former chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, told the Associated Post that he supports the tax and that he believes it’s necessary.
But he also said that he has concerns about how the tax could be applied to frozen foods.
“I am concerned that the state is going to take the apples, the oranges, the plums, the pears, and they are going to just freeze them,” Stockman said.
“I would prefer to see frozen foods sold in Texas, I’d like to see people having the choice of buying from a variety of retailers and making a choice to purchase locally.”
Rep. Joe Barton, R of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, said that the proposal is “anti-consumer,” adding that “the state needs to look at the long-term effects of the tax.”
He told the Austin American-Statesman that he’s “not sure if this will be good for Texas consumers.”
“I don’t know if it will be a good thing for Texas,” Barton told the paper.
“We need to see if this is going in the right direction.”
The Associated Press’ Emily Kaplan contributed to this report.