New York Governor David Paterson admitted yesterday that one of his most talked-about tax proposals, an obesity tax on sugary drinks, is fizzling. But he said it popped the right question. In meeting with college students over his budget, Paterson told the young New Yorkers not worry about his soda tax because the Legislature won’t go for it. But he said it has served its purpose of raising awareness of childhood obesity. His proposal would put an 18-percent tax on soda and other sugary drinks containing less than 70 percent fruit juice. His analysis showed it would raise a projected $1 billion in revenue over two years and reduce use of sugary drinks by 5 percent.
The fat tax was the subject of articles, editorials, polls, talk radio and TV commentaries.
The plan had been supported by New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden.
“Every can of regular soda has the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar – 150 calories. Children that cut down on their soda intake cut down on their risk fo becoming overweight or obese,” Frieden said.
The American Beverage Association planned to fight the obesity tax, which targeted the main soft drink of America.
“Why single out one product? It’s not going to solve the obesity problem and it’s not a fair tax on the people of New York,” said Susan Neely, President and CEO of the company.