Posted by: 4pack | February 15, 2009

“Ideal Shape” Update: “Fat Tax” On Sodas Fails In New York As “Outrage” Forces Gov. Paterson To Abandon Efforts

obesity1

ME THINKS THE “FATTIES” DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH…IF ONLY ALL THAT ENERGY COULD BE CHANNELED INTO A DISCIPLINED DIET AND EXERCISE REGIMEN…BUT, ALAS, POLICY FAILURE WILL ALWAYS RESULT FROM A “CHOICE” OR “NON-CHOICE” APPROACH…REASONS MUST BE PUT FORTH AND THAT IS WHAT WE WILL DO HERE….

“The governor is responding to the obvious hue and cry, not only from the food and beverage industry people, but from the general public, who have shown in poll after poll that this is not an idea that they feel is worth embracing,”

Mr. Paterson told the “soda addicts” in the room not to worry because he did not expect the Legislature to pass his proposal for an 18 percent tax on soda and other sugary drinks

 

Barely into the thick of budget negotiations with the Legislature, Gov. David A. Paterson is already backing off one of his signature revenue-raising proposals: taxing soda.

The governor’s position emerged during a town hall meeting on Thursday with college students in Morrisville, N.Y. During the question and answer session, Mr. Paterson told the “soda addicts” in the room not to worry because he did not expect the Legislature to pass his proposal for an 18 percent tax on soda and other sugary drinks, and said he put it forward largely to initiate controversy and conversation.

“The tax on soda was really a public policy argument,” the governor said. “In other words, it’s not something that we necessarily thought we would get. But we just wanted the population to know some issues about childhood obesity.”

The proposal, which was projected to raise $400 million a year and help reduce obesity, was a highlight of Mr. Paterson’s State of the State speech last month and set off a spirited debate in New York and around the country.

Opponents of the soda tax — which Mr. Paterson and his aides preferred to call a tax on obesity, which afflicts a quarter of New Yorkers — said they were glad that Mr. Paterson appeared to be abandoning it.

“The governor is responding to the obvious hue and cry, not only from the food and beverage industry people, but from the general public, who have shown in poll after poll that this is not an idea that they feel is worth embracing,” said Richard Lipsky, a lobbyist for the beverage industry.

In a statement on Friday, the governor’s spokeswoman, Risa B. Heller, said that Mr. Paterson’s remarks to the students, which were first reported by The Associated Press, had been misconstrued.

“The governor stands firmly behind his soda tax proposal,” Ms. Heller said. “He acknowledged that this wasn’t a popular proposal and made an observation about the Legislature’s actions and explained the underlying policy rationale. By no means was he stepping away from it.”

 

The lowered expectations for the soda tax were not the governor’s only setback on the budget. This week, the governor abandoned his plan to conclude budget negotiations by March 1, one month ahead of the official deadline. He said he now hoped to meet the legal deadline, March 31, the final day of the fiscal year.

 

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