News Releases & Statements
American Beverage Association President and CEO Susan K. Neely Responds to New York Governor Paterson's Proposal to Tax Sugared Beverages
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ABA Press Office
AMERICAN BEVERAGE ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT AND CEO SUSAN K. NEELY RESPONDS TO NEW YORK GOVERNOR PATERSON'S PROPOSAL TO TAX SUGARED BEVERAGES
Governor Paterson is once again seeking to solve the state's spending problems by further burdening hard-working New Yorkers with new taxes on their groceries, including juice drinks and soft drinks. What's particularly disconcerting about this proposal is that the tax on a 12-pack of non-alcoholic beverages, like soft drinks, would be more than 9 times higher than the state tax on a 12-pack of alcoholic beverages, like beer.
The idea of taxing juice drinks, soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages was widely rejected by New Yorkers when Governor Paterson proposed it last year because struggling families are tired of paying more taxes. Families are still barely making it from paycheck to paycheck. Adding to their burden with a tax on their groceries should be the last way to tackle the state's budget problems.
Furthermore, at a time when New Yorkers continue to struggle through a tough economy with double-digit unemployment rates, this tax will threaten thousands of well-paying, New York jobs in the beverage and related industries. And its impact will reach beyond the beverage aisle, hurting New York grocers by driving sales to neighboring states.
Any talk about this proposed tax relating to obesity is just a façade. This is a money grab, pure and simple. If we are serious about combating obesity we need to comprehensively address the consumption of all foods and beverages and help New Yorkers get more physically active. It's unfortunate that some are perpetuating the myth that taxing one product will make a difference in obesity. It won't.
In fact, a review by George Mason University researchers showed that even a 15-cent tax added to a 75-cent soda (a 20 percent tax hike) would decrease Body Mass Index by just 0.02 - from 40 to 39.98. This miniscule change isn't even measurable on a bathroom scale. And West Virginia and Arkansas - two states with long-standing excise taxes on soda - rank among the ten highest rates of obesity in the nation, according to the CDC.
Governor Paterson and lawmakers should look back to last year, when they withdrew a similar tax after New Yorkers made their voices heard. New Yorkers simply can't afford another tax.
We appreciate the budget challenges facing the state and are willing to pay our fair share, but there should be ways to address the budget deficit without reaching into the grocery carts of already struggling families or putting well-paying jobs at risk.