It's Alive! New Soda Tax Plan Would Exempt Diet Drinks, H2O


Remember Governor Paterson's defeated plan to raise a billion dollars by levying a penny-per-ounce excise tax on soda and other sugary beverages? It's still in play, despite repeated cash roadblocks thrown up by the beverage industry. What brought it back from the dead this time is a compromise, floated by Paterson, that would exempt diet sodas and bottled water. The new proposal would mean less revenue for the state ($815 million) but it seems to be Paterson's best last hope to wrench that bottle of Fanta from your cold, diabetic hands. Of course, the beverage industry has a thing or two to say about this latest "compromise." Soda industry execs say that just because there would be no tax on diet cola, that doesn't mean soda drinkers will buy it. They "worry" that if a liter of soda costs a few cents more, consumers will either abstain from their precious elixir, or cross state lines to get it on the cheap. "Critics make the presumption that people switch, but people have their preferences, which is why companies are constantly trying different innovations on products like Coke Zero and Pepsi Max," Kevin Keane, a spokesman for the American Beverage Association, tells the Times.

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It's Alive! New Soda Tax Plan Would Exempt Diet Drinks, H2O