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Sunday, March 28, 2010

New York's Sugar Tax

New York state, the state I like to call the "Fiscally Challenged State,"--and yes, I know that California is a worthy contender--is contemplating a tax on soda and sugared drinks. The idea is that government can alter the behavior of people, dissuading them from purchasing an unhealthy product. The real reason behind this is of course to bring money into the coffers of the state--New York is facing a 9 to 13 billion dollar deficit (and that's only what they are telling us).

The Times Union newspaper has come out in favor of the tax, saying that the state needs the money and the people need to be told what not to ingest. "Yes, it would be easy to say, just cut spending" posits their recent editorial. Right. But they left one word out: drastically. Just cut spending...drastically.

The problem with New York is not that they don't have enough money coming in. They have plenty. The problem is that they have too much going out. And yes, that means that a lot of people are going to be upset with their particular projects being cut. Too bad. Welfare needs cutting (45 billion dollars!) and education needs cutting.

Did I just say that education needs cutting? How can anyone say that? Because it is true, that's why. New York is #4 in spending per pupil, and #36 in SAT ranking. Iowa, spending at the national average leads the SAT pack. What I propose is to lower spending per pupil to the national average. Spending more money does not help education; it may just hinder it.

More money coming into the state is just more money to be spent, and where will this end? Even the Times Unions writes: "Still, it would be easy to say, isn't this a slippery slope? What's next? Pizza? The all-American hamburger and milkshake?
To that argument, we say, let's take this one battle at a time. As for this one, proponents of the soda tax clearly win on the merits."

One battle at a time. Fine. Let's win this battle and put an end to the war. Stop the soda tax.

And stop re-electing representatives, OK?


Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=916123&category=MONEDIT#ixzz0jTSF38ES

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