With growing consensus, New York legislators are dropping the seemingly hopeless proposal to tax soft drinks and other beverages. New York Gov. David Paterson and his lone few supporters are still pushing for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages claiming that it will address public health concerns and secondarily help to fill the state budget gap. What the Paterson administration calls a "win-win" for filling government coffers, we call a major loss for real New Yorkers.
Science shows that singling out one food or beverage for taxation won’t make an impact on public health. Uniquely linking obesity to soda consumption is nothing short of misinformation. A study by Harvard researchers and published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year concluded that all calories count – regardless of the food source – when it comes to losing weight.
This tax is a poorly-masked money grab. New York union workers quoted in the Troy Record said that it would severely impact the 160,000 well-paying jobs in the state, hitting consumers and businesses hard.
The current turbulent economic climate is even more reason for legislators in New York to walk away from the tax. And many are, recognizing that this tax would hit hard-working, middle-class families in particular. As Gov. Paterson and the legislators work to reach an agreement on the state budget, we urge them to shoulder the responsibility for the budget instead of placing the weight on the backs of already struggling New Yorkers. Reject the beverage tax proposal again this year!