NY Governor Wants to Tax Soda

Filed under: In The News

coke canNew York State Gov. David Patterson proposed this week that all non-diet sodas be taxed, as part of his $121 million budget plan for 2009. Patterson's so called "obesity tax" would levy a 15 percent tax on carbonated drinks like Coca-Cola.

The tax on soft drinks would bring in an estimated $404 million annually, and would not include diet drinks, milk, juice or bottled water. It would, however, apply to any beverage containing less than 70 percent fruit juice. So think lemonade, sweetened iced tea, and even some drinks marketed as juice.

The proposal is part of Patterson's efforts to close $15 billion deficit expected this year and next, and supposedly the funds collected from the tax would be applied to health-care initiatives. Much like the cigarette tax, the levy is intended to discourage people from indulging in bad habits that cause health problems. Obesity is liked to chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

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Being a native New Yorker, I understand Patterson's frustration. Year after year the budget deficit climbs higher, and year after year the state legislature delays approving the annual package because of political infighting, causing financial hardship for every institution that receives state funds -- institutions like schools.

Which, by the way, sometimes sell sodas as a way to offset budget issues. File that one under "things that make you go hmmmm."

What do you think? Should sugary drinks be taxed, or is this just another step toward a "nanny state?"
Should sugary drinks be taxed?
Yes, people who drink them should be held accountable250 (12.1%)
No, it's just one more step toward a nanny state1510 (73.3%)
I'm on the fence. After all, what's next? Taxing TV?301 (14.6%)

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