Westchester Senators Oppose Sugar Tax

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The Westchester County Senate delegation this month wrote a letter to Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, opposing Gov. David Paterson’s proposal to tax sugary beverages, saying it would drive out businesses — particularly Pepsi located in Purchase.

“We are writing to express our strong opposition to the proposed tax on sugared beverages,” wrote Democratic Sens. Suzi Oppenheimer, Jeffrey Klein, Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Republican Sen. Vincent Leibell.

“While we applaud the efforts to address obesity and to generate revenue in such difficult economic times, levying this tax will not have the desired effects. Rather, it will adversely affect the economic climate and job growth in the state, and more specifically, in New York City and Westchester County, home to Pepsi-Cola and CCE, a large Coca Cola bottling facility.”

On Monday, the The Alliance for a Healthier New York launched an ad campaign “Just a Few Pennies” to build support for the measure. The tax would equate to about one penny per ounce of soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages.

The group says the tax will help reverse the state’s obesity problems and bring in $450 million to the state’s coffers to pay for health care.

But the opposition by the senators from Westchester shows that the proposal will fall flat, said Nelson Eusebio, chairman of New Yorkers Against Unfair Taxes, which is backed by bottlers and other businesses.

“As our state senators learn more about this job-killing tax, they recognize that it will not deliver any of the alleged benefits and will only put people out of work. These senators, and many others, know that we already pay enough taxes in New York,” he said in a statement.

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  1. Audrey Toussaint on

    I agree. I do not think a tax on sugar beverages will make people rethink their habits. My experience and opinion is that those who do not have education regarding healthy alternatives are those that are already economicaly challenged and by imposing a tax on their ‘everyday beverages’, all we will do is impose further hardship on these families. How’s that for a run-on sentence? Although my family are not big ‘sugar-drinkers’, I do not agree with this tax. Let’s dig deeper to find where the excess is in our area.