The NY Coalition and CFF Speak Out on Proposed Sin Taxes

New Yorkers Against Unfair Taxes, a coalition formed in opposition to taxes on food and beverage products, today announced its disappointment in Governor Paterson’s proposal to place a tax on sugar sweetened beverages of 12 cents per 12-ounce can. This tax would be 10 times higher on a 12 pack of non-alcoholic beverages, like soft drinks, than the state tax on a 12 pack of alcoholic beverages, like beer.

The coalition’s members -including thousands of New York residents across the state and business groups such as the New York State Restaurant Association, The New York Association of Convenience Stores, The Business Council of New York State and The National Supermarket Association- agree that this is not the time to tax the groceries of hardworking New Yorkers.

“New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet in this economy and we shouldn’t bear the burden of fixing the Governor’s budget problems,” said Nelson Eusebio, Chairman of New Yorkers Against Unfair Taxes. “Another tax will be detrimental to hardworking New York businesses and residents.”

The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) also called on New York’s Governor David Paterson to abandon his “misguided proposal”.

“The tax code should not be a tool of social engineering against New Yorkers who choose to make food and drink choices that paternalistic officials like Governor Paterson don’t approve of,” said J. Justin Wilson, CCF’s senior research analyst. “New York state is home to the Big Apple, not Big Brother.”

CCF was an outspoken opponent of Paterson’s last soda tax proposal, which fizzled last February when it failed to pass New Yorkers’ scrutiny. A 2008 poll by Quinnipiac University found that 60% of New Yorkers opposed Paterson’s 18% tax. A wealth of academic research shows that these kinds of taxes fail to address the complicated problem of obesity.

In addition, a poll of 1,006 adults by the Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) in September 2009 found that two-thirds of Americans are opposed to taxing soda. When specifically asked whether they agreed or disagreed that “carbonated soft drinks should carry extra taxes in order to discourage their consumption,” 65% disagreed, while only 28% agreed. 

“There is no single cause of obesity, therefore singling out sugary drinks makes no sense,” Wilson said. “Paterson’s latest proposal only serves to fatten the wallets of Albany politicians, not trim New Yorkers’ waistlines.”




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