Dear New York State,
I was born, raised, and lived the first 22 years of my life within your borders. I now live in your under-appreciated neighbor to the South; New Jersey. However, I do come to visit you quite frequently.
I have never smoked; not once have I put an illegal substance into my body; I have resisted the urge to take painkillers after surgery; I rarely ever consume alcohol; I have kept in reasonably good shape (especially for someone writing a blog called “The Geek Whisperer”); and I have never been overweight…
But damn it, I like to have soda (“pop” for my dear friends in Western New York) when I go out for dinner.
Why do I like to have a soda when I am out for a meal?
Please don’t take this the wrong way… It’s really awkward to say… So I’m just going to come out with it.
With rare exception, your tap water tastes like a swimming pool, algae, metal, or the flavor that I have always imagined as fecal matter.
I’m sorry New York, but the truth hurts.
This is why I am so disappointed in your proposed 15% “Obesity Tax” on soda.
Make no mistake about it, when I am at home I drink water. When I go out to eat, I want water, but your water is… well, I don’t want to say it again.
But what about the children?
This isn’t really about children. You know very well that the obesity problem isn’t just about Coke and Pepsi. It’s about a lack of exercise; poor food options (at home and at school); and the recession.
Cheap food is generally bad for you.
Children who’s parents work during dinner aren’t going to eat right.
In spite of the rhetoric of American Academy of Pediatrics of New York State, this isn’t about getting rid of “liquid candy.” It might be about that for pediatricians, but in your case, this is about grasping for tax money.
I know you are having financial problems. Who isn’t these days?
Don’t you think you could look to some other methods of fixing them?
Perhaps cutting waste in your school system. Don’t tell me there isn’t waste. I lived in your public school system for 17 years (K-12 and college). It seems to me that the only way to remove a tenured teacher is to get him to “knock-up” a student.
Maybe you could get yourself a governor who spends more time leading than fighting off criminal investigators and media inquiries (You’re at two in a row, don’t go for the hat-trick).
All I know is that you need to figure out how to balance your budget without making the tax on soda higher than the tax on beer (11 cents per gallon).
When people start slaying strangers on the road with their cars because they had a “Big Gulp” of Coke, or a man comes home and beats up his family because he drank that “Biggie Sized” Pepsi I will back you up on that tax.
Until then, solve real problem.
And fix your stinking tap water.
David B. Spira
The Geek Whisperer