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New York State Tax on Soda Cheered by CSPI

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

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The first point you should consider when weighing soda taxes? Soda consumption harms taxpayers. Taxpayers in New York State and elsewhere are already paying a heavy price for out-of-control soda consumption, since taxpayers subsidize much of the treatment of obesity, diabetes, and other expensive health problems.

Those health problems put an enormous strain on state and federal budgets, in some cases, nearly to the breaking point. That’s why Governor David Paterson’s proposal to levy an excise tax on soda and other sugared drinks makes perfect sense. It’s a courageous yet common-sense move that I hope all governors, and all state legislators, consider replicating.

Unlike milk or juice, soda provides nothing but empty calories to the diet—it is a totally unnecessary and worthless product that everyone would do well to avoid. A state tax on these disease-promoting drinks could raise a billion dollars a year and put a modest dent in consumption. That’s a windfall for taxpayers in more ways than one. 

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).