New Soda Tax Proposal Reportedly Excludes Diet Soft Drinks

By Ben Fractenberg on May 20, 2010 3:39pm | Updated on May 20, 2010 3:37pm

Governor Paterson is making a new push against sugary soft drinks.
Governor Paterson is making a new push against sugary soft drinks.
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Department of Health

By Ben Fractenberg

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Gov. David Paterson is trying a new approach to sweeten the deal for lawmakers to pass his statewide soda tax.

Under the revised proposal, consumers would still pay an additonal penny per ounce on sugar-sweetened sodas and drinks. But the so-called "sin-tax" on sugary sodas would no longer apply to diet sodas, as it had in the earlier proposal, according to The New York Times.

In addition, the new proposed tax would eliminate the current sales tax on diet sodas as well as on bottled water, the Times reported.

That would cut the estimated $1 billion a year in tax revenue the state stood to earn under the new tax down to about $815 million, the paper said. It was unclear how much money the state would lose on sales tax on bottled water.

Proponents of the new givebacks say they could help win over staunch opponents in the beverage industry, thereby relieving the pressure on lawmakers who were against the initial plan.

The plan has earned the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose administration has implemented a host of new health-conscious regulations including a cigarette tax and a ban on trans-fat.

“Our Administration strongly supported the proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as a way to combat the obesity epidemic and further support our schools, hospitals and clinics,” said Bloomberg in a statement released Thursday. “I encourage all legislators to take a fresh look at this issue.”

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