Gov Modifies Soda Tax Proposal
Maybe there's less corn starch in Governor Paterson's modified sweetened beverage tax, but will the public buy it?
The State needs to raise billions, so millions in new tax revenues on soda and other highly sweetened beverages -- which all of us should do without, but won't -- would be a palatable source of revenue.
And the elimination of the sales tax on bottled water and low-sugar beverages? An added bonus, sure to leave a great taste in the mouths of New Yorkers.
No, it's no just about public health, or that soda-belly you've got going there. It's about dollars and cents.
In this instance, the nonsensical ads (and millions spent) by the beverage industry aside, it's about dollars and sense.
If you still want to drink soda and highly-sweetened beverages, you pay the tax. If paying the tax would keep food off the table or send you into foreclosure, well, you shouldn't be drinking soda in the first place.
Drink water! Healthier for you, and soon, should the modified soda tax pass muster, less expensive.
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From Governor David Paterson:
My Fellow New Yorkers:
Obesity is a public health crisis. When over half the adults in this State, and one out of every four New Yorkers under the age of 18, are overweight or obese, we must recognize that there is a tremendous problem. Obesity is associated with life threatening conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer, and the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is a major contributor to obesity. These health problems and costs will only increase in the future, unless we take steps to help all New Yorkers adopt healthier lifestyles.
By implementing my modified sugar-sweetened beverage tax, we will gain an effective tool to combat obesity. This plan will increase the price differential between the high sugar-high calorie and low sugar-low calorie beverages and encourage consumers to make healthier choices. A one cent per ounce excise tax would be added to sugary soft-drinks, bottled coffee and tea drinks with added sugar, powders and other sugary beverages, but my revised and improved plan will also eliminate the sales tax for bottled water and low-calorie drinks that have 10 or fewer calories per 8 oz.
New Yorkers spend an estimated $7.6 billion annually to treat obesity related health care costs. This initiative will help lower those costs over time, and improve the health and quality of life for all New Yorkers. Now is the time for us to take bold actions, and I again urge the Legislature to help me encourage healthy eating by approving this new tax on sugar sweetened beverages.
For more information about the modified sugar sweetened beverage tax package, please click here. Also, please share your views on this issue on Straight Talk from the Taxpayer.
David A. Paterson
Governor of New York State