NY Closer to Soda Tax?

DOH! This version has been corrected. My original source indicated that the proposal was targeted to the city (like Philly) and not the state. Apologies for the error.

Just days after Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced plans for Philadelphia to tax soda, New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg signaled that his city supports state efforts to do the same.

(Sheesh, New York. First we win a World Series, then you win a World Series. We tax soda, you tax soda. What’s next?)

In his speech on Sunday, Bloomberg went through the blah-blah-blah of how the tax would help reduce obesity rates and accompanying medical costs before cutting to the chase: it’s going to make some money. It’s anticipated that it will raise about $1 billion each year – and at just half the rates of the Philly tax. The proposal for New York would levy a penny-per-ounce tax on soda.

Bloomberg expects some resistance. In 2008, Governor Paterson suggested a similar tax for the state of New York. Despite tentative support from Bloomberg at the time, the measure failed. Even so, the state of New York is trying it again. Bloomberg is blazing forward with the soda tax, saying, “In these tough economic times, easy fixes to our problems are hard to come by. But the soda tax is a fix that just makes sense.”

To make it more palatable, this version of the tax would be directly imposed on soda producers rather than tacked on as a sales tax. Of course, it’s just semantics – we all know that corporations will just pass the tax along to consumers.

With all of the emphasis on taxing soda, the industry is clearly concerned. The American Beverage Association has already spoken out against Philadelphia’s proposed tax – and against New York state’s version of the tax. I’m sure they’re sharpening their pencils for a new release as I type this…

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