Paterson Takes Another Pass at Soda Tax

Gov. David Paterson wants to eliminate sales tax on bottled water and low-calorie drink. He's hoping the proposal will sweeten the soda tax he wants lawmakers to pass -- and that the legislature and the beverage industry have found hard to swallow.

The latest proposal would preserve Paterson’s original penny-an-ounce soda tax, but the governor is hoping legislators and the beverage industry will be won over by what amounts to a subsidy for diet drinks and bottled water, making them cheaper than their highly caloric cousins.

The beverage industry, which has poured millions of dollars into anti-tax advertisements, says it will look at the proposal more closely before responding.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a proponent of the original soda tax, has called Paterson’s new plan “wisely reframed.”

Last year, Paterson first proposed a soda tax on a penny-an-ounce, which was rejected. His latest proposal has not been voted on formally, but is not considered likely to pass either house of the legislature.