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article imageSoft Drink Tax Proposed

By Rhonda Straw     Apr 8, 2009 in Food
Critics say that if soft drinks are taxed, then it would help America's obesity problem. They might be right. It has caused a debate among different groups.
An effort toward's America's obesity is in the works. The Governor Patterson's administration are suggesting an 18% tax increase on beverages, such as Coke, and Pepsi. It is causing debates among nutritionists, consumers, and officials of the beverage business.
It is called an "obesity tax", and would be added to existing sales taxes of non-diet sodas and fruit drinks containing less than 70 percent natural fruit juice, including “-ades, punches and certain fruit nectars [sic], besides the sodas that are not sugar free. It does not include diet soda, milk, tea, coffee or bottled water.
The tax would raise $404 million dollars in the fiscal year that begins in April, and $539 million dollars the next fiscal year. The proposal is being labeled a "healthy" proposal.
The Numbers:
On Answers.com, it outlines the gallons,and amount drank by the American public:
Nearly 200 nations enjoy the sweet, sparkling soda with an annual consumption of more than 34 billion gallons. Soft drinks rank as America's favorite beverage segment, representing 25% of the total beverage market. In the early 1990s per capita consumption of soft drinks in the U.S. was 49 gallons, 15 gallons more than the next most popular beverage, water.
The argument of the proposal is that it will hurt the people who are not obese, but who drink soda.
“It’s an interesting experiment and one that’s worth trying,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “The theory behind this approach is that it worked for cigarettes, and that soft drinks are demonstrably related to obesity in children.”
The American Beverage Association says, “This is purely a money grab that would be paid for by hard-working New York families,” warning that the move could jeopardize jobs.
The East Harlem neighborhood has one of the highest obesity rates in New York City. Manny Onativia, 35, manager of Tito’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, predicted that a soda tax would have little effect on consumers’ decisions. “They won’t stop buying it,” But, it is thought that the soda tax would have a high impact on the area, due to the fact that it is mostly low income.
Early studies says the cigarette tax has made a difference in the number of smokers. The New England Journal of Medicine finds that a 10% tax will cut soft drink usage by 10%. If people are hit with higher taxes on their sweet beverages, maybe this is a fight against America's obesity.
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