Five Major Newspapers Support Tax on Sugary Beverages

ALBANY, NY (March 31, 2010) – Five major newspapers spanning New York State support a penny-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary beverages to help address New York's obesity epidemic, provide revenue for health care services, and reduce health care costs.

The New York Times, Crain's New York Business, the Albany Times Union, the Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle all have published editorials urging the State Legislature to pass the tax.

"Support for this measure by five of the most prominent newspapers in New York State shows that when the facts are reviewed, a tax on sugary beverages makes sense," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "These publications recognize that during a very difficult budget year, the tax provides a triple play: It will help reduce obesity rates; it will provide badly needed revenue for health care services and obesity prevention efforts; and over time it will lower health care costs by reducing expenses for treatment of obesity-related diseases, like diabetes, which cost New Yorkers $8 billion a year."

Read excerpts and link to the complete editorials below:

"Seldom does one idea help fix two important problems, but a proposal to tax sugary soft drinks in New York State is just that sort of 2-for-1 solution. The penny-per-ounce tax on sodas and other sweetened drinks is a way to raise desperately needed money for the city and state in a bad economy. It also could help lower obesity rates, which have soared in recent years. The Legislature in Albany should adopt this tax quickly." -- New York Times, March 9, 2010. Read the entire editorial at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/opinion/09tue3.html?scp=3&sq=soda%20tax&st=cse

"Nobody likes new taxes. But every once in a while, a tax comes along that makes sense. The Paterson administration's proposed levy on the syrup in sugary drinks is one. The tax would raise $450 million in the first year, filling 5% of the state's $9 billion budget deficit. Its primary benefit, though, would be to New Yorkers' health…Extra weight not only diminishes New Yorkers' quality of life, it's bad for business. It reduces productivity and triggers billions in health care spending, increasing both the cost of insurance and the taxes that help subsidize charity care." -- Crain's New York Business, March 21, 2010. Read the entire editorial at: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20100321/SUB/303219979&cslet=UnhOY2lLVDlMUENkK2pZbHRObTdUZk5wcCtmcXRtdz0

"More than any behavior, increased consumption of sugared beverages has paralleled the rise in obesity in America, a problem linked to billions of dollars in higher health care spending. And if you don't want to pay the extra penny an ounce, you have the option of drinking something better for you… We endorse the soda tax, and urge lawmakers to make the hard choice, too. - Times Union, March 28, 2010. Read the entire editorial at: http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/a-soda-tax-we-can-swallow/3089/

"The proposed tax on sugary beverages has drawn support as a step toward reducing consumption and, eventually, combating obesity, especially among the young. That would pay dividends in the long run by curtailing needed health care, curbing diabetes and saving lives. - Buffalo News, March 24, 2010. Read the entire editorial at: http://www.buffalonews.com/2010/03/23/997224/tax-has-health-benefits.html

"For the second straight year a tax on sugary drinks has been proposed in Albany, but lawmakers lack the courage to push it forward…Never mind that sugary drinks are a big part of Americans' diet and a huge contributor to the nation's obesity problem." - Democrat and Chronicle, March 1, 2010. Read the entire editorial at: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20103010319