Given the season, if you see me publishing another article on New York Governor David Paterson, you might suspect it would involve his upcoming task of appointing a new senator. You would be mistaken. Like many other states, New York is facing hard financial times and Paterson is looking for ways to cut costs and shore up our coffers. An admirable goal, but one of his plans has put us back on the silly train, full speed ahead. It seems that we may now be facing an obesity tax.
A can of Coke could soon cost New Yorkers more than just calories.
Gov. Paterson, as part of a $121 billion budget to be unveiled Tuesday, will propose an “obesity tax” of about 15% on nondiet drinks.
This means a Diet Coke might sell for a $1 – even as the same size bottle of its calorie-rich alter ego would go for $1.15.
The so-called obesity tax would generate an estimated $404 million a year. Milk, juice, diet soda and bottled water would be exempt from the tax.
First they want to take away my fois gras. Then they make the french fries at McDonalds inedible over trans-fat arguments. And now this? I don’t devote my life to railing against nanny state tactics, but this one really gets my dander up. Aside from a few less calories (which we can get in a myriad of other places) it’s not as if a diet soda is that much better for you or healthier than the full strength variety. And shouldn’t that really be left up to us? As for the kids, parents should be the ones to monitor these things.
The worst part is that this isn’t going to have any significant impact on consumption or health in our state. It’s just a way to put a “health friendly” label on an obvious grab for more tax revenue in a state whose permanently dysfunctional government couldn’t balance a budget with the scales of Lady Justice herself. Better to just pass an across the board income tax hike and see if the voters will tolerate it when you next stand for election. Or, perhaps, exhibit the leadership required to whip the state legislature into some semblance of fiscal responsibility. But that would require political courage, wouldn’t it? So I suppose we’ll just get an “obesity tax” for an early Christmas present instead.