Update: *sorry…I left this important qualifier out of the original post.

I recently received an email from New Yorkers Against Unfair Taxes, asking me to post information and a statement regarding Governor David Paterson’s recent proposal to impose a tax on sugared beverages – a beverage tax that would add about $1.44 per 12-pack* to the cost of  drinks that contain real sugar.

This tax would allegedly combat obesity by making the assumption that people are fat because they consume too many calories through soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages.  In my household, however, my husband is the one who consumes the full-sugar drinks, and he is very slim.  I, on the other hand, drink only water and diet soft drinks, yet am the one struggling with my weight.  So it seems that my household will be unfairly punished with that broad brush of obesity-control measures.  by paying a disproportional amount of what would be considered a “fair share”.

Let me do some quick math: I purchase one twelve-pack of Sprite per week for Bob.  At $1.44 extra per pack, I will be handing NYS an extra $74.88 per year.  That’s more than what we pay for an entire week’s worth of groceries.  What if we were one of those families who is living paycheck-to-paycheck?  They’re going to suffer the most. I know, they should switch to juice or water…but juice is almost three times the cost of soda (and contains the same amount of sugar), and don’t even get me started on the notion of making our own uncoerced choices.

I am quite certain there are holes in my argument, but I really am just opposed to more new taxes.  Where does it end??

I am in complete opposition to this regressive tax, as it is yet another maneuver by the dysfunctional New York State government to balance their hopelessly mismanaged budget on the backs of us New York taxpayers, so I’m happy to post this statement from New Yorkers Against Unfair Taxes, which includes links to their website and information about how you can sign the petition to stop the insanity.

The economic downturn has hit many areas hard, including the Empire State. New York state officials continue to have political debates on how to fix the deficit. One proposed “solution” suggests that we implement a food and beverage tax that would charge one penny per ounce of sugar. This could potentially increase the total cost of some products, such as soda, by as much as 50 percent. We recognize the need to balance the budget, but taxing the hardworking citizens of the state is not a solution. In fact, it will cause more burden for New York families and businesses already struggling to make ends meet. Additionally, it will put thousands of New York jobs at risk. “Whatever revenue might be generated from this tax could potentially be offset by 6000 jobs being lost in this state. We can’t let that happen.” – Senator David J. Valesky.

The biggest argument that proponents of the tax have brought to the table is that a food and beverage tax will help curb childhood obesity. In reality, punitive taxes on food and beverages do not teach our children the importance of a good diet or how to live a healthy lifestyle – therefore doing little to improve public health. Comprehensive education, not taxation, is the key to improving public health. Putting thousands of food and beverage industry jobs at risk and raising taxes on the products that hard working families enjoy is the wrong approach to fix New York’s economic problems. Join over 7,000 other New Yorkers by signing our petition and telling Albany you oppose the New York food and beverage tax.

The website has lots of helpful information, as well as videos that help illustrate their position.  Check it out, and take a stand.

*sorry…I left this important qualifier out of the original post.

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