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    N.Y. Governor Hikes Soda, Beer Tax

    An effort to balance the budget and reduce obesity has c-stores steaming.

    ALBANY, N.Y. – Under a new "obesity tax" proposal by state Governor David Paterson, any full-calorie carbonated soft drink or drinks containing less than 70 percent fruit juice— a large part of the convenience store cooler—could see an additional 18 percent sales tax, on top of the 8 percent already charged in the state, area television station Capital News 9 reported.

    "The biggest thing is us taking the brunt of the customer irritation or frustration. With more tax, we get to see it at our level and deal with it," convenience store owner Christian King told the station, adding that it would be difficult to determine what beverages require the extra tax, especially if it were to be collected at the point-of-sale.

    "Let's face it, people who want their Coke or Sprite, they're going to buy it anyway," King said.

    In addition, Paterson is also proposing other tax hikes to balance the state budget, which include a two-fold increase in beer taxes, and changing the malt beverage tax rate to be in line with the higher liquor tax rate, the report stated. Meanwhile, cigars would see an extra 50-cent tax each.

    "There's a lot for convenience store customers not to like," New York Association of Convenience Stores President James Calvin told the station. "One of our concerns is about what happens next. What's the next product that contains sugar that would be taxed at an exorbitant level?"

    The taxes would reportedly raise money to go to a health fund to fight diabetes and other obesity-related diseases, the report stated.

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