Did Coke and Pepsi Get the Governor to Go Soft on Soda?


Gov. David Paterson is not known for his moral character, but could he have let Big Soda sway him on the soda tax debate? Despite campaigning aggressively in favor of a penny-per-ounce tax on the price of soda and other sugary drinks, Paterson recently met with representatives from Pepsi and Coca-Cola and was sympathetic toward their “valid concerns” — namely, that “an excise tax would theoretically cause all beverages, whether they were sugared or not, to increase in price.”

Not that it matters much anyway, reports Crain’s. The soda tax may be dead in the water. With a number of Democratic senators opposed, in addition to the entire Republican caucus, at least 32 votes are needed for the proposal to pass, which isn’t likely.

Opponents to the soda tax — like Diane Savino, a Democratic senator from Staten Island who led a protest against it last weekend — say it would lead to job losses. Paterson says that while he doesn’t wish to see any jobs lost, not passing the proposed tax would result in having to “find hundreds of millions of dollars to replace it in balancing the budget.”

As Nancy Huehnergarth, director of the New York State Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Alliance, noted: politicians generally don’t create new taxes in an election year. But, hey, it’s not like Paterson has to worry about that.