Or should I say drown in sugary, high-fructose corn syrup goodness. Yes, the governor seems to be giving up on his 18% proposed tax of soda and fruit drinks that have less than 70% fruit juice. It was played up big in the press when he announced it and immediately was attacked for the "obesity tax" as it was labeled. Perhaps he was trying to emulate Mayor Bloomberg in being another NY Executive nanny, but even the governor doesn't see it happening anymore.
From The NY Times:
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.
Aww, how sweet (heh) is that of the governor only wanted us to be aware of our state and national problem by threatening a tax on sugary drinks. If he didn't make such a big deal of it during the State of the State address and in front of subsequent press gaggles, I might actually believe him. Perhaps what actually happened was that Governor Paterson miscalculated the amount of opposition the tax would actually have.
Businesses were quick to organize around this issue and fight the governor on it, even creating a nifty website to show how many people are behind them on it. Producers, distributors, sellers and many in the public were quick to disagree with the governor's proposal. Joshing Politics even got an email from Peppercom Strategic Communications who started PR work for the lobbying effort. Unfortunately though, I hadn't gotten a response (within a day's time) as to how the group wants to help close the budget deficit. I would hope they agree on a fair tax that would go a long way towards solving the problem without cutting too many programs that New Yorkers depend on.