Millions Spent On Lobbyists Over NY Soda Tax

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Beverage makers and health care unions spent millions of dollars in a battle over efforts to tax soda in New York, contributing to a record $211 million in lobbying expenditures in 2010.

The New York Post said the American Beverage Association led lobbying in the state with nearly $13 million. The group helped defeat former Gov. David Paterson’s effort to put a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks.

The tax was supposed to fund health-care programs. The Alliance for a Healthier New York, which was backed by labor unions, spent $2.9 million to support the tax.

The grocery store chain Wegmans Food Markets spent $1.3 million in an unsuccessful campaign to expand wine sales to food stores.

The lobbying numbers were compiled by the New York Public Interest Research Group.

What is your opinion on a potential soda tax?  What’s your reaction to the amount of money spent on lobbying for and against it?  We want to know.  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • William Mitchell

    Want to invest in some good domain names that will fetch a premium price in the near future? I own the following –

    One day the lobbyists are going to desire at least one if not several of these premium domain names. If you are interested in making an offer, please contact me for details. Check WhoIs for my contact information if interested. Serious inquiries only please.

  • yisroel yid


    LEAVE US ALONE! dont tax us for every freakin thing out there. enough with ur stupid taxes. if we choose to eat sugar its our decision. i dont have to pay u anything for that. its goverment creating both the tax and allows the lobbying. government is bad, not the sugar in my soda

  • Ron

    Do your research on soda. The sugar and artificial sweeteners used cause many medical problems. Cancer, cardiovascular and diabetes just to name a few. Let those that don’t care about their health pay more for products that cause medical problems. . I am tired of high health care cost and soda is a big player in the increase cost.

    • Doc

      You’re absolutely correct, Ron. One of the health problems that may be linked to aspartame (Nutrasweet), the prime non-nutritive sweetner, is clinical depression, as noted in Psychology Today, many years ago. I am a retired pharmacist in practice when Nutrasweet (aspartame) was introduced. In the ensuing years the growth in the use of Nutrasweet (aspartame) was paralleled by the growth of SRI antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, etc., right up to those we see advertised today. I do not know if a link has been established and this may only be an observation of mine and many of my fellow pharmacists, but, it is food-for-thought.

      • US Citizen

        I’ve talked to many doctors about artificial sweetners and there’s no proof it causes health problems. Honestly if you as a physician or medical professional want to keep people who consume too much sugar from becoming diabetic then you are free to do so. Just don’t ask me to pick up the tab. Insurance programs are designed to take care of sick people because not everyone gets sick all at the same time. I think it’s obvious politicians are trying to scare people into thinking they need saving with more spending and taxes. We shouldn’t have to clean up after unfit fiscally irresponsible public representatives.

    • lospuros

      All in moderation. We don’t need another tax.

  • Holly

    Any tax, specifically a Soda Tax to support health-care programs is the dumbest thing imaginable. I’m glad this was defeated! I can’t stand paying more and more taxes to support programs and fund things that, as a working tax-payer, I’m not eligible to partake in.
    Anyone that has a job should have been against this from the start!

    Everyone knows that half of the money generated from this Soda tax was going into the pockets of the crooks like The Alliance for a Healthier New York.

    I’d love to see the bank statements from their board members and ceo’s

  • sid

    Again, i still see alcohol getting away with murder, literally. Can’t figure this one out at all. Lets tax alcohol and see if the drunks stop killing people on a daily basis with their cars. Oh thats right alcohol is not like second hand smoke , or worse than that the killer soda !!!!, it does not hurt anyone.
    Its all a joke to me , a very sad one at that

    • 1608

      Tax alcohol. It was tried n ma. we voted it down it took time. My beer has a tax so why should i pay a tax on a tax? Tax on alcohol/sugary drinks is only a tax on taxed goods. Look it up.
      By the way the fam. not one fat/ obese thank you. Good nite/good wknd.

  • Gregg

    I agree with some of the comments on charging obese people extra ! Just get on any bus or subway as I do in NYC and you will find obese people TAKE UP TWO SEATS ! Either make seats wider or charge these people extra !

  • Silly Sal

    Here is a sure-fire way to raise much needed revenue – the “Breath Tax”. A Breath-O-Meter could be hung around the neck of all citizens, newborns too in the appropriate soze, of course. Every time a person takes a breath it would be registered on the Breath-O-Meter. When the meter is read the person could be charged a penny a breath. In difficult times this could be raised to two or more pennies per breath. The hidden advantages are fewer sports injuries, lots of breathing there; population reduction, lots of breathing in the making of population, things like that. The start up costs would be high but think of the long term benefits.

  • US Citizen

    Taxes for sugary drinks including sugar free soda. Taxes for car emmissions after taxes for gasoline. Federal and state taxes on employee income after the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Sin taxes plus sales taxes. Taxes and tax shelters. Taxes for ponzi scheme retirement pentions that only a few get to enjoy. Taxes for health care. If our governments want to have this much control and tax everything for whatever Socialist agenda, first they will have to print more money. Please just don’t add the insult that they have to do it in order to save me. People in the government obviously their credit cards cut up. Stop trying to save me and stop spending money in my name and stop taxing in my name!!!!!!

  • Ed p

    Dont tax soda, tax fat and obese people directly. You tax smokers when they buy the one product everyone says is bad. Well, for obese people, tax their food purchases only and they’ll stop eating so much. Put them on a scale at the check out aisle.

    Otherwise, im fit, healthy and love my soda. Why tax me?

  • Gholamhosain Tasbihi

    This short article and similar to that just come from a democratic country as USA, but when people in a country like Saudi Arabia want to make an action similar to that they’re all smashed by the illegitimate 86-years king. The ruler thinks that just giving money to the people is the answer to any reforms in Saudi Arabia.

  • tweeq

    If taxes are good enough for smokers, it’s good enough for soda drinkers. Obese and morbidly obese people injure their children, themselves and the people that have to care for them. Medical care providers, ambulance tech’s, the list goes on.

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