NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged state legislators to levy a tax on soda, saying the money raised would help plug the state's shortfalls in health care and education funding.
In his weekly radio address on Sunday, Bloomberg urged the New York state legislature to impose a tax of 1 cent per ounce on the sugary drinks.
"An extra 12 cents on a can of soda would raise nearly $1 billion, allowing us to keep community health services open and teachers in the classroom. And, at the same time, it would help us fight a major problem plaguing our children: obesity," he said, according to a transcript of his address.
Bloomberg, who earlier in his administration spearheaded a ban on smoking in New York City bars and restaurants, would need the state's permission to impose a New York City soda tax.
In January, New York Governor David Paterson proposed a soda tax, a move Bloomberg has supported.
Last week, Philadelphia officials presented that city's fiscal 2011 budget. It includes a tax, which must be approved by the city council, that would charge retailers 2 cents per ounce of sugar-sweetened beverages including soda and sweetened juices, coffees, teas and sports drinks.
The American Beverage Association, whose members include Coca-Cola Co, PepsiCo Inc and Dr Pepper Snapple Group and which has opposed efforts to tax soda, said Bloomberg's proposal would not work and would threaten jobs.
"Taxes don't work for making people healthier," said Chris Gindlesperger, an association spokesman. "It puts good New York beverage industry jobs at risk." He estimated the beverage industry employs 160,000 people in New York state.
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