Sunday, March 7, 2010

NYC Mayor Calls for Statewide Soda Tax

In a mixed, pro-tax/anti-soda message, NYC Mayor Bloomberg expanded his role by telling state legislators how to run the state that is reeling from lower revenues because of the recession. In in his radio address today, he called for the New York state government to pass a penny per ounce tax on soda.

“Today, I’m urging Albany to take one simple step to avert this crisis: Setting a penny-per-ounce tax on heavily sweetened sodas and beverages, and dedicating the revenue to education and Medicaid," said Bloomberg, according to the Examiner. "An extra 12 cents on a can of soda would raise nearly $1 billion, allowing us to keep community health services open and teachers in the classroom. And, at the same time, it would help us fight a major problem plaguing our children: obesity."

He did not explain how the tax was going to cut use, if he was at the same time projecting a billion dollars in revenue from the tax. All of which sounds, like the Mayor is using health concerns as a cover to create a new tax in the consumer sector, a sector which is generally not slowed by the restructuring during a recession.

He said that the implementation of such a tax could avoid the elimination of 8,500 public school teachers in New York City alone and help avoid devastating cuts to city hospitals, according to the Examiner.

“In these tough economic times, easy fixes to our problems are hard to come by," said Bloomberg. "But the soda tax is a fix that just makes sense. It would save lives. It would cut rising health care costs. And it would keep thousands of teachers and nurses where they belong: In the classrooms and clinics."

I would really like to see the math the Mayor is using to come up with this doozy of a contradictory justification for, pure and simple, an across the board tax increase.


  1. Bravo. I couldn't be happier. Either the state makes more money, or people get healthier and thinner. On top of that, there is the economic benefit of people spending their money on something *other* than soda. Can you argue with that?

    I agree the math is likely wrong ($1B at $.12/can means that the average NY resident drinks over 400 cans of soda per year), but the idea is sound.

  2. The idea is not sound. It is just another tax on people that don't need to be taxed more. You never hear about these people talking about spending decreases or real tangible cutbacks in their budget. It's always constant deficits and more taxes.