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Majority opposes plan to put tax on sweetened beverages

More than half of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll oppose the provision in Gov. David Paterson’s budget plan that calls for a penny-per-ounce tax on non-diet soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

Fifty-five percent opposed a “soda tax,” and 48 percent of respondents said they were strongly opposed. The tax received support from 45 percent.

Officials of the Paterson administration say the tax would generate $465 million in revenue next year. The tax would be levied directly on soda producers, and the revenue generated would go to the health care budget.

Proponents—including Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City—say the new tax would offset the need for other levies, help reduce health insurance premiums for businesses and improve public health in New York, where some 60 percent of adults and 30 percent of children are overweight.

Foes, such as the Business Council of New York State Inc., argue the tax would have a negative economic impact, causing lower sales and employment in the beverage industry and related businesses, and thus would depress tax revenue.

Roughly 1,000 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted March 29 and 30.

Do you support or oppose the proposed penny-per-ounce tax on sugared beverages?
Oppose strongly: 48%
Oppose somewhat: 7%
Support somewhat: 16%
Support strongly: 29%

Here are some readers’ comments:

Where will the taxing of foods and beverages with sugar added stop when we open the window for soda to be taxed? Just like anything else, healthy quantities of consumption should be the responsibility of the consumer. Those who fail to act accordingly suffer the consequences. Taxing soda is not the way to reduce the budget gap.
—Jon Freitag

If the state needs more money, then they can cut their ridiculous spending instead of ever-expanding the taxes imposed on their residents.
—Todd VanHouten, Cintas

Public health improvement will save health insurance costs. Have you ever noticed folks returning lots of soda cans? They are usually quite overweight. How unhealthy and costly to the rest of us who avoid sugary sodas.
—Mary Lynn Vickers, owner, Phantom Chef PCS

I don’t even drink soda or soft drinks, and I oppose it. We are taxed enough. All taxes should have a corresponding benefit. This will have no other effect than to put one company out of business in favor of the other. How do you tax Kool-Aid? On the potential fluid ounce? I don’t smoke, but I oppose laws that prevent people from smoking in bars (private property). I might not like the activity, but it’s not about me. It’s about personal rights and liberty.
—Karl Schuler

This is another hidden tax on New York State residents. It will do little to reduce the deficit and will affect lower-income families substantially more than middle- and upper-income households. The state needs to attack the problem of an unsustainable budget.
—Jon Tobin

The government needs to stop regulating the people. It is a free country, or so I thought.
—Ken Williamson

It’s my choice to put on some fat from my soda. It’s now Albany’s turn to hack some fat off their bloated budget.
—Jim Duke

The only problem with the soda tax is that it doesn’t go far enough and should also include all fast food. Opponents would see that for those people who consume these products, it won’t matter any more than the excessive tax on cigarettes has.
—Scott Ireland

I would strongly support this if it goes against the beverages that are sweetened with corn syrup and to a lesser degree cane sugar. Studies reported in books such as “Food, Inc.” show the correlation to the corn sweeteners and the obesity this legislation is reported to target. It should be widened beyond carbonated beverages to sports drinks and fruit punches. In short, if it is not 100 percent juice, let’s do what can be done to change the eating habits.
—Terry Abbott

Yes, this is a new tax, but one can avoid it.
—Craig Epperson

Research shows that non-diet pop is a huge contributor to some folks being overweight who do consume it on a regular basis. As a person who does not, and a parent who buys it only occasionally for my kids, I will not be impacted in a major way from an economic standpoint. I also don’t believe that those who do drink it regularly will stop doing so because of the tax. I believe the tax will ultimately be just another way to make living and doing business in New York more expensive. I think the government should take a hard look at all taxes and state revenue streams and re-evaluate their true impacts versus contributions to lowering the purchase power of consumers and businesses. They keep making it easier to leave the state. Perhaps a back to the basics plan may be in order (take care of the schools, infrastructure, Mother Nature and health of state workers AND stop creating new ways to take more money from your residents). Creating a back-to-the-basics list of spending, as well as revenue streams, may be eye-opening to say the least. The expense of New York State lies in how complex politicians and state government have made everything.
—Bob Peter, Insights2Improvement, Inc.

Taxes are never welcome, but to me they are better when they are voluntary. If you don’t like this tax, buy diet soda and pour in as much sugar or corn syrup as you like, tax-free.
—Steve Vaughn

It is a good cause for the health of our kids and everybody else.
—Jeannette Nieves

Soda is nearly as bad for you as cigarettes—at least as addictive, given the sugar and caffeine—and is having an enormous impact on the cost of health care (and highway cleanup) as well.
—Dave Vanable

I absolutely support this. A win-win: more tax revenue and hopefully it steers people to healthier alternatives.
—Sigmund VanDamme

Just one more tax. Likely make little or no impact on obesity problem. Aren’t we taxed enough already?
—Doug Lyon, Lyon Capital Management

New Yorkers need to get behind such incentives for wellness. There’s little difference between smoking and soda/sweetened juices when it comes to your health, except smoking is an easier target. Not only is soda a major contributor to obesity, it has been proven to weaken your bones by changing calcium levels (findings the industry suppressed). The manufacturers can easily afford the business hit—while the Business Council needs to consider getting some morality: life isn’t just about an extra dollar or two. Take responsibility.
—Richard Stevenson, co-founder and CEO, CobbleSoft International Ltd.

Who in their right mind would support this tax? How about a tax on foods with fat or fried foods? We could tax fish caught in Lake Ontario for the mercury in them. Why tax it at a penny an ounce, so it will sound like less? How about a penny per milliliter? That sounds like even less, but it will generate more revenue. We don’t need any more obscene taxes. What we need is massive reduction in expenses.
—George Dounce

Simple Equation: Sugar tax is good = Sugared drinks generate health problems + N.Y. needs the revenue.
—Sergio Ruffolo, JR Language Translation Services, Inc.

Why is it that government always thinks that another tax is going to save the day. Tax after tax has been levied always with the intent to offset some other levies that are already on the books. A "sugar" tax will do absolutely nothing to alleviate New York’s staggering deficit but cause lower-income families who are already trying to stretch their dollars to spend even less on "extras." In addition, I strongly believe the government should not try to tell the public what it can and can’t eat and if the public wants to eat products containing sugar then they should be allowed to do so without paying a penalty. A tax on sugar products will not help reduce health insurance premiums.
—Phil Turturici, Absolute Consulting

I personally find this disheartening. To think that anyone would ever consider this tax is simply preposterous. Any politician who stands behind such a proposal is clearly not a representative of the people. It is another example of extremely poor representation by individuals who cannot govern effectively. In my opinion the knowledge that public officials are even considering this should outrage the masses. Whether one does or does not support this tax should not depend on personal preference to a particular beverage. I believe there is a bigger picture to be seen by this proposal.
—William Nash, Ultrafab Inc.

A freakin’ soda tax? Are you kidding me? This is the best we could get as a solution from our politicians? They are milking us dry and we are letting them. Shame on us! How about STOP SPENDING! It’s what the employed, tax-paying New Yorkers have to do to keep living in this state. How about ending welfare? Now there’s a revenue stream! I oppose any tax and endorse shrinking government. I encourage everyone that is disgusted to be aware and vote this November.
—Lou Romano

Boston Tea party, anyone? More tax—when more people start drinking from the faucet and brewing their own beer … and beverage companies start to see declining sales, maybe we will get the point across: No More Tax!
—David DeMallie

This is just another government scheme to get more money instead of cutting spending. I don’t think the state really cares about people’s health as much as they do being able to spend more of our money. It would make more sense for the manufacturers of these beverages to voluntarily reduce the sugar content. The State should be enacting legislation that will help businesses grow and create more jobs for people instead of finding ways to get more of their money through foolish taxes. Get the people back to work and maybe some of that extra weight might just roll off of them.
—Grant Osman

In the interest of health, I strongly support this initiative, but I also understand the hesitancy to add new taxes in an already overtaxed state. Statistics have shown that many people have quit smoking rather than pay the high cigarette tax, so I suppose it is time to move onto the next “bad habit.” Personally, I will continue to support my Coca-Cola addiction as long as the tax is reasonable!
—Nancy May, Alliance PPC 

This is just another revenue grab by New York State. We have had many taxes and fees that were supposed to go to certain entities within the state, but then get raided to support the remainder of the state. No more new taxes and fees.
—David Lindskoog

If demand for sugared beverages goes down as a result of the added tax, so be it; the beverage industry should be able to remain viable if they develop and produce products that respond to the demands of the marketplace. Consumers won’t stop drinking beverages altogether, but they will become more selective in their purchases. In the meantime, the tax revenues can be used to educate the public about eating properly to reduce the incidence of obesity.
—Karen Kall, On Kall Marketing

I am outraged by the notion of another tax levied upon New York state citizens.
—Vinny Dallo, financial planner, Legacy Financial Planning

Give me a break! On a 16-ounce soda, the tax would be 16 cents—so the price in a machine would go up 20 cents (they aren’t going to replace the machines so they give pennies in change!). Tax Tax Tax. The answer is NOT to tax more, it is for our government to SPEND LESS! Throw the bums out of office, they are clueless!
—Ted Miller, AVIK Technologies, Inc.

This is wrong on so many levels. So many people say how New York State is horribly business unfriendly, then the government wants to impose another tax on people? So then, they would need to hire a few more union lackeys to “oversee” the whole thing. Hmmm. More State employees = bigger government = more salaries = more debt. Yeah, that works. What would be nice is if the state would do what the federal government should do and just impose a “flat-tax” for ALL state residents. Everybody paying a fair share. What a novel idea. Good luck with that. NO to the state sticking their noses in our drinking habits. Next thing you know, being high on sugar or caffeine while driving will fall under the definition of DUI. Why not? More money in fines.
—Tom Meilutis, J. Fiorie & Co.

If this tax were used as the proponents claim, then it would be a good thing. But the politicians cannot be trusted. The revenues will simply go to more overfunded pork barrel projects that grease the politicians’ palms.
—Jim Weisbeck, Bloomfield

Regulation through taxation is wrong! Weather the item is good for you or bad, it is wrong for the government to regulate a person’s needs or wants through taxation. It makes you feel the government is better than the people it is working for.
—Keith E. Heiden

Whether we want to admit it or not, the fact is that our sugar-laden soft drinks are as deadly for us as is tobacco. There is no reason soft drinks should not be taxed; and probably at 2 or 3 cents, not just one penny.
—Ben Murphy, founder, TheFatherLife.com

New York State is already taxed to death. I mean it. It is becoming the death of the state. Whether you drink sugared drinks or not is a personal decision. If you get fat, have diabetes, and die from it is another personal decision. I do not want to pay for people who make stupid decisions. Including politicians. Those people or those who have let their children, lead unhealthy life styles should pay for their own decisions through higher health insurance premiums/costs. Ultimately we may have to pay some of this in the form of Medicaid but this too can be dealt with by funding good healthy behavior. Of course if you chose not to lead a healthy life, you die. That too is your decision. Just don’t expect me to pay to bury you. However, I do favor an additional tax on the remaining containers to encourage recycling. That would be more useful for everyone.
—Bob Stein 

It is not healthy to consume sugary drinks, but drinking one should not be a taxable event. New York State is beyond broke and cannot stop spending, so it will "tax" or "fee" anything it can. Watch for increases in traffic fines, and for the eventual legalization and taxation of "medical marijuana."
—Dave Iadanza, Farmington

An additional 12 cents on that $1.25 can of pop from the vending machine doesn’t seem like much; now I’ll probably pay $1.35 or $1.40. But on a $0.99 2-liter bottle at the grocery, it’s  plus 67 cents. But is that the “real” price of all these sugary snacks? There was a time when we believed our taxes went into good things: school, public research, and infrastructure. Unfortunately, over time, we’re turning into scrooges who don’t want to put a single red cent into anything unless it personally benefits us. After all, what’s my personal interest in making sure my fellow humans have health care, an education, maybe even food tonight? We’ve taken this to the point where we often don’t fund our schools properly. At one point schools offered a healthy, balanced meal for lunch; that was downgraded in the 1980s when ketchup became a vegetable, but at least there was no carbonated sugar-water to be seen. But that wasn’t good enough: wouldn’t it be great if public schools were little capitalistic enterprises? And so, over time we’ve now taken it to the point where many schools now supplement tax income by installing vending machines that’ offer unhealthy alternatives to the traditional school lunch. Potato chips and soda are high-profit items, ensuring our taxes stay low as our kids eat junk for lunch. Somewhere along the line, we’ve lost sight of the idea of public good. Maybe we’re all jaded because of the instances of waste we hear about, and we’ve given up on the idea that anything done for the good of us all can work. I can’t disagree that there are problems: pork barrel spending, civil servant unions pushing for wage increases while the rest of us are suffering, and government programs that don’t encourage people to be self sufficient. But if slapping a 1 cent per ounce tax on soda is going to raise millions of dollars, then sure, let’s go for it. If we’re not going to educate our kids into eating healthy, and an example of how to do it, then we might as well badger the masses into eating right through rigging the price. The consequences of this junk (obesity, diabetes, disability) will no doubt end up costing the state money eventually; we might as well make those people that drink the stuff, ante in for the consequences it will eventually cause. And if that higher price makes a few more people drink water (practically free out of the tap, and better for you), that’s great. Because the almighty dollar is the only incentive to do anything in America.
—Perette Barella, Devious Fish

These are the times that try men’s souls! Let’s try a new approach… how about reducing state spending to better match the current revenue? Every penny we add to the tax burden drives revenues lower as people and businesses vote with their feet. New York is already a tax "sink hole" that has been on an unsustainable path for years—ask Tom Golisano!
—Dave Coriale

Yet another tax this time veiled as an attempt to "help" overweight New Yorkers. I pity the overweight who, after finishing a 6-pack of coke, head out for a tan! This state and the rest of the U.S. needs to wake up and smell the coffee before they levy a tax on that, too.
—John Malvaso, FSI Systems, Inc.

We use taxes all the time to incentive healthier behaviors and to raise needed funds. Why is soda a protected class?
—S. Stamper

One more tax=one more reason to leave this state. What’s next? A surcharge for dessert wines or sweet cider or maple syrup? What about jams and jelly? Maybe we need to limit the purchase of cakes and pies! Where does it end? When will someone stop it? Aah, maybe the Dems, who are in complete power, have another saccharine response.
—Bob Miglioratti

Sugary beverages are not part of a balanced diet and the empty calories they contain significantly contribute to obesity. Their consumption should be discouraged and for those that choose to drink them, their purchase should help pay for the enormous cost for treating obesity and obesity related diseases. Health care costs are a significant burden on economic growth; the obesity epidemic may be more significant than the problems associated with smoking since obese people live longer with more chronic illness than smokers do. We tax tobacco because of the public health problems. It is time to tax these beverages. Beware of the health claims of the beverage industry. Remember the "Tobacco Institute" and their continued claims for "more studies."
—Jim Zavislan

A tax is a tax no matter what it is levied on. I strongly oppose any further taxes on anything. This is just one more way to pay for the outrageous spending this state continues to pile on the backs of its citizens. This state needs to stop telling people what is or isn’t good for them. We are supposed to be free to choose how we live our lives, and these "taxes" eliminate that freedom a little at a time.
—David Wagner

We are already taxed too much. Rather than cutting "earmarks," better known as pork barrel spending, our elected officials are opting to further tax citizens and at the same time expand the "nanny state" mentality. Who is the government to tell people what they should drink? This is one more example of ever increasing government control of the individual. I am outraged but unfortunately not surprised.
—Debbie Gleason

Penalizing people who don’t want to drink artificial sweeteners? I certainly appreciate our governor’s dilemma with trying to solve the budget situation, but come on! What about drinks and snacks with high fructose syrup, and partially hydrogenated oil? How about imposing a tax on those companies that continue to include those ingredients in their products? Encourage and promote wellness activities like hiking at state parks; oh wait, our governor wants to close some of those and lose the revenue they generate from out-of-state visitors and N.Y. residents who use them!
—Sheryl Keegan, Irondequoit

I do not believe soda sales will fall for more than the first week, so jobs and tax revenues are not at risk. Sugar is an addiction and I, for one, probably won’t decrease my use. Kids won’t either.
—Kat Nagel, MasterWork Consulting

This tax is a waste of time and money. Most of the money received will go back into the cost for collecting it. There are other more effective ways to collect additional money for the State. For instance, repeal some of the tax reductions given away previously in good times. A one-dollar reduction in tax reductions will do more and be less painful, and easier to collect. Further, our NYS government is too afraid of special interests to do away with huge give-aways in cash and special tax reductions for special interest. Those increase the tax for everyone in New York State and give the state a bad reputation. The penny overcharge is stupid to solve the NYS budget.
—Ingo H. Leubner, Crystallization Consulting

What a crock of hockey pucks. Another excuse to tax our sorry butts. Is it any wonder businesses are fleeing New York State like startled deer? Try this: fiscal responsibility!
—Lou Calarese, Applied Audio & Theatre Supply

Why should (we) be surprised at this proposed legislation? Is it yet another example of the government trying to lead us by the nose to the decision that they feel are best for us? Or is it another example of government trying to expand their reach into our freedom of chose while expanding their revenue stream? It’s up to each of us to decide which it is. Either way it will likely lead the way for more progressive taxes like the proposed “Salt Tax.” Or the ban on “Trans Fats.” Or the “Sun Tan Tax”? What is next?
—Daniel Washington, Chili 

There are a lot of things wrong with the proposal. Among them: 1. Everyone knows that drinking sugar makes you fat and unhealthy. If that doesn’t stop a purchase, $0.16 won’t either. I would think tobacco taxation would illustrate this. Long-term health cost reduction is unlikely. 2. I haven’t seen studies that back this up, but my gut feel is that soda consumption is skewed heavily toward poorer families—it provides a higher number of calories per dollar (along with other fast food) than fresh, more healthful options. From that perspective, this is an additional tax on the poor, in the same way that the lottery is. 3. Non-diet sodas only? Diet soda is a chemical soup that’s certainly not a healthful drink. Who would be surprised to learn in 10 years that any particular sugar substitute (e.g. aspartame) is linked to cancers or brain related problems (depression, autism, etc.). As a parent, I’d much prefer my children drink an occasional natural sugar soda than ever consuming a "diet" anything—and this plan would make that slightly more expensive. 4. Shouldn’t the state government worry more about keeping neighborhoods safe than helping me figure out that soda and Twinkies are unhealthful? Increase the sales tax on handguns or something—at least it’s closer to legitimate government function.
—John Oliver

Are you serious? Think about this for a moment. This is absolute crap. This is a classic case of treating the symptom rather than the underlying cause. The real problem is systemically wired spending increases. Fix those and we have a fighting chance.
—Mark Davitt, ConServe

I don’t drink soda or sugary drinks, but come on! Next they will want to tax carbs, fats and air! Somehow elected officials have to figure out how to stop spending so much money. I know there should be a stupid tax, politicians that can’t balance the budget by reducing spending should pay 100 percent of their income in taxes! Can I get a second?
—Frank Orienter, Rochester

I support almost any desperate attempt by New York State to increase revenues, especially if it can have an effect on another detriment in the state, particularly our youth’s health. I wish that New York government would look very seriously at anything that can generate serious revenue, like this. Follow California’s lead, for examples!
—Hutch Hutchison, In T’Hutch Ltd.

So, skinny people that want a Pepsi or Coke are to be taxed too? What a stupid smokescreen! Some government blockhead decides that they’ll use the old "Fat" excuse for a new tax. Come on! If we allow this, what comes next, a general food tax? How many times do we need to say Cut the Spending! And, Mr. Bloomberg should know better than most that another tax is NOT the long term answer to solving any problem. Of course the tax would offset expenses. So would another tax and another and another. We’re getting mad as H— and we shouldn’t have to take it anymore!
—Rick Bradley

I support it with the funds going to ONLY health care related items, but I have zero confidence that the money would not be used for other items either now or in the future.
—Don Gress

The American Cancer Society sent a letter to the governor’s office yesterday. Here is an excerpt: "To that end, the American Cancer Society can support an excise tax proposal that: Clearly applies to all sugar-sweetened beverages; Earmarks resulting revenue for public health programs, –Includes a thorough evaluation component; and assures the tax is applied at the point of sale so consumers are faced with a sugar-related higher price that has the potential to discourage consumption. We will be happy to work with Commissioner Daines and the Legislature to assure that the proposal now being considered will meet these criteria."
—Kim McMahon, American Cancer Society of NY and NJ

It would seem that Gov. Paterson has adopted a "scorched-earth" attitude toward New Yorkers, finding a way to alienate and aggravate nearly every citizen of the state in one way or another. Well, I guess at least we can say our Governor is an equal-opportunity offender!
—Christopher Burns

Government intrusion on personal choice begins with innocuous causes. It’s time to stop this "Big Brother" knows what’s best and socially reengineering our lives. We can’t afford big government in NYS. It’s time to stop the spending and reversing the welfare state. I again want to focus on a major cause. Bloated public payrolls, overgenerous benefits and pensions, and public service unions who run our state government. When the private sector has all the risks, lower wages and fewer benefits than the secure and entrenched public sector positions, it’s time to reverse the process. Clean The House in 2010. "Politicians are like socks; if you don’t change them often enough they start to stink."
—Dennis Kiriazides, Xerox, retired

The tax is inevitable; the politicians see the revenue generated by the cigarette tax want to duplicate that in all products they deem unhealthy. Soda is an easy first target, but it won’t stop with soda, your movie popcorn, concession food at the ballpark, snack food, fast food, processed frozen dinners … eventually you’ll need a permit to dispense candy in volume on Halloween.
—Manny Colfax 

There is a health problem facing our community—childhood obesity—that is taking its toll in human life and health costs right now and for generations to come. Like tobacco use—which needed the extra deterrent of taxes to dissuade the most incorrigible smokers ( I was one) and the young smokers—if making the easy access to unhealthy super-sweet, sugary drinks more costly and more out-of-reach needs this additional tax, I’m all for it.
—Bill Murtha, CEO, Roberts Communications

Government can make a difference by helping to promote healthy behaviors. This is one positive step that should be strongly supported.
—Brian Kane

Just another tax, and this is why I’m moving to North Carolina.
—Gerry Whitbourne

What’s next, taxing the air that we breathe? Are our elected officials just morons? Additional taxes just drive people and business out of the state. How do they think they’ll finance the government when everybody is gone? We don’t need the government protecting us from ourselves. We need protection from the government. Every tax is just another confiscation of our property. Yes there is a budget crisis in New York, brought on by the out of control spending. The Syracuse Post Standard reported that the state has hired 51,464 people since the governor’s supposed hiring freeze on 7/30/08. Some freeze! The government should be laying off employees to control costs, not raising taxes. The same Post Standard article reported the state has hired photography assistants, tree pruners and ski school instructors. Ski school instructor?! For what? Let the governor and legislature freeze spending! Or better yet, actually cut spending by at least 25 percent!
—Keith B. Robinson, CFO Diamond Packaging

None of these "sin taxes" ever generate the revenue that the politicians estimate. They further drive folks along the borders to purchase out of state. Thus, further driving the economy of New York … downwards.
—Jerry Lighthouse, C.P.M., CPIM Advanced Purchasing Technology, LLC

Another tax to feed the insatiable irresponsible runaway spending habits of the governor and legislature? No Way!
—Tom Shea, Thomas P. Shea Agency, Inc.

I would typically vote against any new tax, however, this one I feel strongly about implementing. Individuals who choose to use products that have a high potential of leading to chronic illness and costly health care should pay for that choice. For example, there are enormous taxes on cigarettes and alcohol and potentially, a tax on tanning beds. Individuals who choose to take responsibility for their health with exercise, healthy food choices and maintaining a reasonable weight should not have to carry the burden of those who choose to continue to indulge in practices known to lead to obesity and disease.
—Heather Keys, principal of KeySolutions of NY, LLC

This is great. Soda is not a necessity. If you can’t afford the tax, don’t buy soda. While we’re at it, increase the tax on cigarettes to about $20/each, earmarked to health care for NYS only.
—Matt Petrangelo

"Don’t tax you. Don’t tax me. Tax the person behind the tree." Especially when that person is drinking a sugared-beverage. If you haven’t noticed, they already tax bottled water. Bottled water’s not food, you know. Maybe we could tax some of the action from the $750,000 Governor Dave plans to spend on prison trailers for conjugal visits. If we could tax the sugared-beverages those inmates and their mates drink at those prison trailers, we could really make out like tax bandits. This time of year some money-changers need to be thrown out from more than the Temple.
—Clifford Jacobson, WebHomeUSA.com

Another tax to help us live healthier lives, except that’s the last thing they want. Significantly less consumption of sugar-sweetened (it’s actually high fructose corn syrup) drinks would ruin their tax revenue projections…then what? Don’t worry, I just read that federal lawmakers are "weighing" hundreds of sin tax ideas.
—Frank A. Cania, SPHR Caniahr, LLC

Overweight and obesity are a financial and health epidemic in this country and New York is not exempt from the problem. Hopefully, this will provide an additional economic incentive for people to switch to non-sugar beverages. And to the Business Council, people will not stop drinking something; the jobs will move to the provider of the new beverage of choice.
—Alan Ziegler, Futures Funding Corp.

What’s next, the thought police?
—R. Tarantello, Tarantello & Associates

Another albany money grab. Does anyone remember (I do) when they first imposed the sales tax on us? It was supposed to be for luxury items. I guess everything is now considered a luxury? Food was never supposed to be taxed either. Take a look at your next grocery receipt and see how that was another lie. If we let them do this to us it will open the floodgates to even more taxes and regulations. Oh but this tax will be good for us, right? BS Albany needs to cut spending, not raise any more taxes. We already pay way too much in taxes! And if they can’t cut spending, then we should fire every state politician this November, and hire some new ones who will!
—George Thomas, Ogden 

Nonsense! Just another excuse to infringe and tax. What’s next? Air consumption?
—P.M. Palermo, Strategic Triangle, Inc.

In New York State the money collected will just be used for something else other that what it is intended for. Quit taxing us and quit giving people another excuse not to come here or a reason to leave!
—Chris Barrett

(c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.

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