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obesity tax



New York Soda Tax Plan Gives Diet Soda a Pass

The proposed soda tax, which would add approximately a penny per ounce to bottled drinks, is under scrutiny once again. New York Governor David Paterson is advocating adding a state sales tax exemption on diet sodas and bottled water. The first draft of the soda tax was projected to make close to a billion each year for the state, but the Senate and Assembly have been against the tax. They are willing to settle for an estimated $185 million that the renovated bill would bring in, with the exemption being listed for diet drinks.

Currently, only Arkansas and West Virginia have passed excise taxes specifically on soda, with Baltimore and Washington considering taxes on sugary sodas.


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Can a Soda Tax Prevent Obesity?

When I was much heavier, I had a massive soda addiction. I drank more than a 2 liter a day. (I know. I’m hanging my head in shame right now.) Part of that came from a daily stop at McDonald’s to grab an extra large Coke on the way to pick up the kids. I see other people doing this exact same thing all the time, and it’s everything I can do to keep my mouth shut. I don’t think anyone wants to hear my input on how bad their soda intake is for them, but I wonder if the government spoke up – would it have an affect?

Several of the nation’s leading health experts are calling for a tax on soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks as a means of curbing America’s ever growing obesity epidemic, with children as the age bracket with the highest levels of rising obesity. A report was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine touting the benefits of such a tax.

From the report:

“We can raise much-needed dollars while likely reducing obesity prevalence, which is a major driver of health care costs,” the paper states. “Ultimately the government needs to raise more money to cover the deficit, and in terms of ways of raising that revenue, a tax on sugar sweetened beverages is really a no-brainer.”
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New York Governor Proposes Obesity Tax

These days, state governors don’t have a lot of clout with the public. Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has his corruption mess going on. And not long ago, Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York bowed out in shame after his infidelities. But his successor has a budget – and obesity – crisis he wants to tackle.

Governor David Paterson, the man who took Spitzer’s place, has an idea, and it’s not endearing him to many more people than the aforementioned public servants.

Governor Paterson wrote a special commentary for CNN.com explaining why he feels that we need to have an obesity tax. Like most of us, Paterson is worried about the epidemic that is childhood obesity. One way he wants to combat it is by taxing soft drinks, something he’s proposed in his latest state budget.
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