A few weeks ago, Santa Clara County passed a measure intended to reduce child obesity by fining restaurants for offering toys as part of meal promotions. San Francisco has responded with a similar measure that won’t help the kids slim down, but is guaranteed to fatten up already-bloated government.
The real force behind this legislation is the Public Health Department, which has been growing for the past three years, fueled by the Healthy San Francisco program. This program taxes small businesses, primarily restaurants and retailers, that can’t afford to offer health benefits.
The public health bureaucracy devoured $36 million of these taxes, for fiscal year 2008-09, while spending only $11 million reimbursing medical providers and pharmacies. The rest went to nonmedical spending, including $8 million on salary and benefits for new bureaucratic positions.
Read my entire column at the San Francisco Examiner.