NY Governor's Proposed Tax: Deceit in the Name of Money
Just because diet soda is low in calories doesn't mean it can't lead to weight gain.
It may have only 5 or fewer calories per serving, but emerging research suggests that consuming sugary-tasting beverages--even if they're artificially sweetened--may lead to a high preference for sweetness overall. That means sweeter (and more caloric) cereal, bread, dessert--everything.
Guzzling these drinks all day long forces out the healthy beverages you need.
Diet soda is 100 percent nutrition-free, and again, it's just as important to actively drink the good stuff as it is to avoid that bad stuff. So one diet soda a day is fine, but if you're downing five or six cans, that means you're limiting your intake of healthful beverages, particularly water and tea.
There remain some concerns over aspartame, the low-calorie chemical used to give diet sodas their flavor.
Aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar, and some animal research has linked consumption of high amounts of the sweetener to brain tumors and lymphoma in rodents. The FDA maintains that the sweetener is safe, but reported side effects include dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, memory loss, and mood changes. Bottom line: Diet soda does you no good, and it might just be doing you wrong.
Nevertheless, in a long list of proposed tax hikes, New York Governor David Paterson has proposed to levy an 18 percent tax on non-diet soft drinks under the guise of combating obesity.
After alleging that “almost one in four New Yorkers under age 18 are obese,” Paterson’s budget proposal for 2009-2010 asserts that, “Significant price increases should discourage individuals, especially children and teenagers, from consumption and help fight obesity which results in higher risk for diabetes and heart disease.” So the purpose of the tax, according to proposal, is to discourage people from drinking non-diet soft drinks.
The proposal then estimates that the tax will raise $404 million during 2009-2010 and — get this — $539 million during 2010-2011. Since tax revenues from non-diet soft drink sales are budgeted to increase rather than decrease — as one might expect from the alleged purpose of the tax — Paterson actually seems to be counting on the tax not working. Combating obesity is not grounds for the tax; it is, instead, camouflage for it — and not very good camouflage at that.
"The bottom line is that, all calories being equal, a can of non-diet soda per day...is well within the guidelines of the USDA's Food Pryamid for most people and so cannot be viewed as a persuasive factoid in support of Paterson's proposed tax."
Thanks to NowPublic author who_me for passing this story along.
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