Diary

Bloomberg loves soda taxes (collected for SEIU and now teachers unions, too)

Does it surprise you that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg just loves the soda tax? Does it surprise you that the teachers unions want to get in on SEIU’s act and take part of the dough?

From Monday’s New York Times:

Bloomberg Says a Soda Tax ‘Makes Sense’
By A. G. SULZBERGER
Published: March 7, 2010
As the battle over the state budget and the looming multibillion-dollar gap becomes more intense, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has stepped up his call for the Legislature to pass a penny-per-ounce tax on soda to stave off major service cuts to education and health care.

During his weekly radio address on Sunday — a day before a symposium on the topic — Mr. Bloomberg noted research suggesting that such a tax would reduce consumption of the sugary drinks, driving down obesity rates and the accompanying medical costs. Yet his main thrust was on finding a quick source of revenue for a city in serious need of one.

To Michael Bloomberg, almost any tax makes sense. (In 2005, when I ran for Manhattan Borough President, I think I was the only Republican on the Republican ticket.)

“In these tough economic times, easy fixes to our problems are hard to come by,” he said. “But the soda tax is a fix that just makes sense. It would save lives. It would cut rising health care costs. And it would keep thousands of teachers and nurses where they belong: in the classrooms and clinics.”

Whoa! Wait a minute! We know that the “soda tax” goes almost directly into the coffers of SEIU. Now the teachers (perhaps an even more powerful union than SEIU) are getting a cut?

From the Staten Island Advance:

Mayor backs tax on sugary soft drinks
By Peter N. Spencer
March 08, 2010, 1:58AM
Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised he would not to raise taxes in the first year of his third term — but that apparently does not mean he can’t lobby the state to raise one for him.

In a reversal of his position from a year ago, the mayor urged the state Legislature to pass a penny-per-ounce soda tax and use that money to pay for education and Medicaid, in his weekly radio address yesterday.

“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,” Bloomberg said.

The soda tax, the mayor later warned, could help stave off “severe public health cuts, big teacher layoffs, or big new property tax bills.”

The universal law of taxes. One-half of one cent an ounce on sugary soft drinks is proposed. Now it’s one cent an ounce. First, it was to benefit SEIU. Now money goes to the teachers. Tomorrow, the tax will be on other drinks, then ice cream, then donuts, and the list will never end. Once in the door, the tax will expand like wildfire.

Taxes like this hurts all people who eat and drink, but it mostly hurts the poor and middle class, whose dollars are more scarce.

How about a truth in labeling law? Why not put NYC teachers pensions and salaries on the label of every soft drink that is charged this tax?

Here’s a little article that ‘Tax Hike Mike” Bloomberg probably doesn’t want you to see:

Mayor Warns on Pension Costs but Gave Pay Deals
By MICHAEL BARBARO
Published: June 22, 2009
(…)
But interviews and budget records show that the Bloomberg administration itself is responsible for much of the growth in city pension costs over the last eight years, and has repeatedly missed opportunities to rein in the spending.

Since Mr. Bloomberg took office, city contributions to the pension system have jumped nearly five-fold to $6.3 billion, from $1.4 billion, and they now account for one out of every 10 dollars in the city’s budget.

A major reason: the mayor has given the city’s 300,000 workers generous pay increases, guaranteeing that they retire with bigger pensions, which are typically 50 percent of salary. Such raises force the city to make heftier payments to the pension system now.
(…)
“You have a mayor who says that pension costs are unsustainable, that they will bankrupt the city, who has willfully increased the city’s pension liabilities,” said Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute who focuses on New York City’s finances.

So Bloomberg (who was endorsed by many of these unions) now tells you to pay more taxes–it’s unavoidable. Plus, it’s good for your health!

Spare us the concern for our health, Tax Hike Mike.

I voted with my feet and moved out.