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The New York Times reports that New York Gov. David Paterson is considering an adjustment in his plan to impose a penny-per-ounce soda tax as a way of closing the state’s budget gap.

Now, Paterson apparently believes that his proposal would be a lot more palatable if all diet drinks and bottled waters were exempted from a sales tax, which he would paint as a way of addressing childhood obesity issues.

According to the story, “Under the proposal the Paterson administration is considering, consumers would end up paying an additional penny per ounce on sugared sodas and drinks. In actuality, that sugar tax would be levied not at the cash register but on the beverage bottler, though presumably it would be passed on to consumers. But if consumers bought diet sodas or bottled water, they would avoid that tax and the sales tax as well. The state would reimburse localities for their portion of the lost taxes.”

The proposal is supported in theory by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but opposed by industry groups that see it as inappropriate social engineering.
KC's View:
This strikes me as a lame idea by a lame duck governor.

I have no problem with a coordinated approach to the obesity issue, and don’t even have problem with paying appropriate taxes that go toward dealing with problems that I think need to be addressed. (If you told me that the tax would be spent on the funding of gym classes and nutrition education in schools with budget issues, I’d see that as acceptable. But that’s not what is being propose here.)

More and more, this all strikes me as government simply throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks...there seems to be no guiding intelligence behind any of the ideas.

Though perhaps it is unfair of me to be looking for guiding intelligence from elected officials.