BUFFALO, NY - An editorial earlier this week in the Buffalo News by a New York Teamsters president concludes that raising New York's beverage tax would cost the state blue-collar jobs.
New York Governor David Paterson has proposed a penny-per-ounce beverage tax on sugary beverages as a means to combat childhood obesity, while helping plug New York's growing budget deficit. However, George Miranda, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16, characterized the tax as a hidden tax on middle-class families that risks thousands of private sector jobs in the state while failing to control obesity.
Targeting beverages at the exclusion of other unhealthy foods without a plan to promote healthy lifestyles will prove ineffective, Miranda argued, adding that the tax would fail to even increase the cost of sugary drinks. The latter is because the tax will be assessed to beverage distributors, who will pass along the cost to the retailer among all beverages€"diet and non-diet alike.
Miranda said the real cost of the tax will be felt by New York's soft drink industry. He speculated that the tax will drive blue-collar employers across state lines where costs are lower, and in the process, thousands of New York jobs will be lost.
NACS Magazine addressed "sin taxes," including taxes on sugary beverages, in its December 2009 issue.