Syracuse Post-Standard Becomes 6th Major Newspaper to Support Tax on Sugary Beverages

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 1, 2010) – The Post-Standard in Syracuse became the sixth major newspaper in New York State to support a tax on soda and other sugary beverages in an editorial published in today's edition.

Read the complete editorial online at:

In supporting the tax, the Post-Standard joins the New York Times, Crain's New York Business, the Albany Times Union, the Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, all of which have published editorials urging the State Legislature to pass the tax.

"Is Gov. David Paterson's proposed excise tax on sugary beverages 'dead on arrival,' as some lawmakers and anti-tax lobbyists say?" the Post-Standard writes in today's editorial. "If it is, they're not giving the proposal a fair hearing. As this page has argued before, the benefits of this focused effort to combat an obesity epidemic far outweigh its modest costs."

The editorial concludes: "This isn't about limiting consumer choice or burdening taxpayers. It's an opportunity for New York to take a leadership role in combating obesity and its related ills."

Research has identified non-diet sodas and other sugary beverages as the food group most strongly linked to rising rates of obesity and diabetes. Subsequent studies have determined that a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages would help prevent obesity by providing a price signal that will encourage consumers to switch to lower-cost, healthier beverages such as water, low-fat milk and diet soda. The high liquid-sugar content of sugary beverages turns to body fat without compensatory exercise. It is difficult to burn off the high number of calories associated with these beverages through routine exercise.

Excerpts and links to the other five editorials follow:

  • "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.
  • "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.
  • "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.
  • "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.
  • "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