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#938646 --- 12/15/08 03:10 PM Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah
HarleyBobT Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 5106
Loc: Walloon Freedom Fighter
New taxes, cuts in budget plan
Paterson sees $404M tax on non-diet soda; higher levies on health care

By JAMES M. ODATO, Capitol bureau
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Sunday, December 14, 2008

New taxes, deep cuts to education and health care, and a restructuring of the state's economic development programs will be hallmarks of Gov. David Paterson's first budget plan to be released in two days, according to interviews of people briefed on components.

The plan will come with a host of revenue raisers - increased taxes on hospitals and insurance policies, for instance - and at least one new assessment, a so-called obesity tax on non-diet soda to raise $404 million. The governor also is contemplating requiring new license plates to raise cash, reviving sales tax on clothing purchases, removing the tax cap on gasoline and threatening to require Indian retailers to collect taxes on sales to non-Indians by signing into law a bill passed earlier this year by the Legislature.

Paterson will unveil the spending plan, aimed at closing a $12.5 billion deficit for next year, on Tuesday. The total size of the Paterson budget is unknown.

There is no word on Paterson's plans for the state work force, although he has said he will adhere to a strict hiring freeze while looking to consolidate some components of government.

The cuts will be across the board and will build upon a deficit reduction plan Paterson proposed in November as he attempted to close the $1.5 billion shortfall in the $120 billion budget negotiated for this year. The plan was inherited from the executive budget introduced last January by Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

The health industry will be particularly upset, although Paterson's cuts will raise blood pressure throughout. He will call for about $3.53 billion in health care cuts, not including federal share of matching Medicaid dollars, which could be another $2 billion in cuts.

The biggest hits will be to insurance companies, which will be asked to come up with about $855 million in extra assessments. Those amount to more taxes on health insurance plans, increased sales tax on hospital discharges and more shifting of general fund costs to the Insurance Department so that insurance companies pay for programs such as Timothy's Law, the mandated coverage of mental health treatments.

Further, the governor also will propose a new tax on some physician services to raise $50 million.

The bottom line will be a net increase in costs that ultimately get paid by subscribers, thereby increasing the cost of coverage at a time that most upstate insurers are struggling.

Hospital cost saving initiatives will amount to $700 million next year and $50 million this year. Some of that will come from a 0.7 percent tax on gross receipts and Medicaid rate reductions. Graduate medical education funds will be redirected to save $141 million and another $23 million will be cut through reforming reimbursement.

Nursing homes will be cut by $4.2 million this year and $420 million next year. Home care will be cut $190 million next year.

A number of other public health programs will come with savings by, for instance, taxing non-diet sodas under an "obesity tax" that will raise $404 million. Prescription drug costs, a hit on pharmacies and drug makers, will cut by $111 million.

Among the reductions in education spending, public colleges will be directed to raise tuitions. But despite the cuts, Paterson will try to make it easier for SUNY schools to partner with private developers who want to build on campus property. The public/private initiative is seen as a way to stimulate construction of private housing for campus residents.

The Empire Zone program will be cut by at least 50 percent, saving the state tens of millions by not extending benefits as liberally.

The budget will come a day after Senate Republicans vote on a bill to stimulate the economy by phasing out the Empire Zone program through 2011 and using the savings as tax breaks for companies.

The governor has contemplated instituting a different pension system for new employees, but the so-called Tier 5 program may not make it to the budget. He is also expected to reiterate a call for greater health care payments from retirees and the closure of some juvenile detention facilities.

James M. Odato can be reached at 454-5083 or by e-mail at jodato@timesunion.com.
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#939161 --- 12/16/08 09:33 AM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: HarleyBobT]
TRD_Tacoma Offline
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Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 12952
Loc: Rochester
Times are tough and unfortunately tough measures need to be implemented.
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#939183 --- 12/16/08 10:08 AM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: TRD_Tacoma]
LaughinWillow Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/12/01
Posts: 1950
Loc: State of Emergency
I don't agree with a lot of this guy's ideas - cutting health care in this economy, in particular, seems completely insane. But charging more for food (or "pseudofood" as the case may be) that is unhealthy and causes most of the problems that are glutting our health care system makes perfect sense. Why shouldn't fresh broccoli cost less than ramen noodles? Or pomegranate juice less than coke? Junk food consumption is probably the #1 reason that Americans have the worst health in the industrialized world. Cost, combined with an intense ad campaign, finally reduced smoking numbers. Don't we want a healthier public? I mean, don't ban the food - just make it less attractive to purchase.
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#939195 --- 12/16/08 10:46 AM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: LaughinWillow]
TRD_Tacoma Offline
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Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 12952
Loc: Rochester
I'm torn when it comes to cutting back on health care subsidararies. I work in health care and I do know that cutting funding on Medicaid will impact my employer. However, when I look at the money that is being wasted on Medicaid for people who are just completely lazy and refuse to work, it infuriates me. There has to be a way to get these worthless people off the medicaid roles and out in the work force. There also has to be a way to break the cycle of generation after generation living off welfare and the tax dollars of the working public.

When I hear the idea that Patterson wants to tax "sin foods", part of me agrees with the plan.
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#939259 --- 12/16/08 12:44 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: TRD_Tacoma]
LaughinWillow Offline
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Registered: 04/12/01
Posts: 1950
Loc: State of Emergency
I'm sure there are people who abuse Medicaid, but the majority of people on Medicaid are children and single moms. I'm not clear on where he's cutting funding though - so perhaps it won't hurt the people who need it most. The problem is, when these programs start getting cuts, the people who get cut out are the working poor. So the people who could work but won't will continue to qualify due to their lack of income, but the people who work 40 hours a week for minimum wage will be shafted. Which really makes no sense when you think about it - those folks are going straight to the welfare rolls if they get too sick to work and can't get care.

There's definitely a way to get people off welfare - providing a living wage, universal health care, affordable child care, extensive public transportation, good basic education, and affordable secondary education would all be a start. I think it's easy to judge people on welfare as "worthless," but when there are simply no opportunities for a decent living, welfare is the logical alternative. It's hard to justify working a minimum-wage job when it means a 2 hour bus ride each way (IF you're lucky enough to live near a bus line) and losing your medical assistance. I'd personally be happy if the government completely eliminated all welfare programs - it would mean all-out rebellion by the poor, who would no longer be pacified by the pittance handout they're getting from the rich.
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#939264 --- 12/16/08 12:53 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: LaughinWillow]
TRD_Tacoma Offline
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Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 12952
Loc: Rochester
LW, there are an over abundance of single moms that are on welfare that are perfectly capable of working that refuse to work. I have no problem giving funding to single moms who are capable of working and do work, especially if they are in low paying jobs. My problem has been and always will be with the dead beats that pop out kids like rabbits and use these kids as an excuse not to work.

As far as getting medical care, I hate to break it to the people who are pushing for universal health care, but it won't make a huge difference for many of these people. They tend not to bother to get good healthcare not because it is not available, but instead because they choose not to get it. We have several doctor's offices located within the poorer sections of Rochester. The "no show" rate for appointments is overwhelming at times. Many patients act as though it is unreasonable to expect them to get up and visit the doctor before 10 or 11 am in the morning.

What I would like to see, is programs the force these people that are capable of working to get jobs and if they need supplemental income to assist them, then give it to them. I do not feel it is necessary to reward them for being lazy and sitting at home doing nothing other than feeding of the rest of the public.


Edited by TRD_Tacoma (12/16/08 12:54 PM)
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#939329 --- 12/16/08 02:37 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: TRD_Tacoma]
happimomof2 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/16/08
Posts: 299
Loc: Waterloo, NY
Ok I'm ready to move out of state....is there any state that's in better shape than NY? Has any government official looked back into our history to see what worked back then when taxes were not forced to be paid? Just wondering. We are all in deep trouble now....we're all going to be out on the streets, no? I'm just so frustrated.

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#939345 --- 12/16/08 03:03 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: happimomof2]
TRD_Tacoma Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 12952
Loc: Rochester
If people learn to live within their means, they won't be out on the streets. For too long, people have been living on credit cards and buying buying buying without thinking if they really need to make that purchase.
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#939359 --- 12/16/08 03:23 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: happimomof2]
HarleyBobT Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 5106
Loc: Walloon Freedom Fighter
Originally Posted By: happimomof2
Ok I'm ready to move out of state....is there any state that's in better shape than NY? Has any government official looked back into our history to see what worked back then when taxes were not forced to be paid? Just wondering. We are all in deep trouble now....we're all going to be out on the streets, no? I'm just so frustrated.


Belize is the only place.
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#939386 --- 12/16/08 04:31 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: HarleyBobT]
LaughinWillow Offline
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Registered: 04/12/01
Posts: 1950
Loc: State of Emergency
happimom, Madison, Wisconsin consistently has an unemployment rate that is about half of the national average, and better than average wages. And it also happens to be one of the coolest places in the US to boot. A huge farmer's market, strong food and housing co-ops, awesome schools, reasonable housing costs...

Back to folks on welfare, TRD, I'm not sure if you're saying that single moms with small children should be forced to work, or if you are referring to people with older kids. Most states only permit women to stay on welfare without working so long as their children are under 5 years (unless they are disabled or seriously ill). So there are programs already in place to force people to get jobs - the problem is that there simply aren't enough decent-paying jobs, and poor people often don't have a way to get to areas that offer more jobs due to the lack of public transportation. This is especially true in rural areas. It seems like we would see - in this time where the middle class claims that it is barely getting by - that it isn't as simple as just going out and "getting a job." Jobs are being lost - even in the low-paying service sector. And instead of tackling problems like lack of public transportation or wages that do not rise with inflation, our "leaders" are handing billions to bankers - supposedly to help them offer more credit (which got us here in the first place).

Speaking of the issue of transportation, it's worth mentioning that part of the reason I think Madison has done consistently better is because of its incredible public transportation system. You can get anywhere in the city quickly by bus. In addition, there are bike paths and a bike culture all over the city as well. There are plans to open a train station so that people can get to hubs in Chicago easily. So there you've got a great example of a city that, with some planning, has made it possible for both the wealthy to profit and for poorer folks to make a living.

I used to work in mental health, and am pretty familiar with the welfare system - at least in Pennsylvania where I worked - and in my experience, the vast majority of people receiving assistance are NOT "popping out kids" (in fact, the average number of children a family on assistance has is TWO), nor do they have some deep-rooted desire to avoid work. In many cases, some simple thing like a local BUS would make a huge difference. In others, it simply doesn't add up economically to pay for child care while making minimum wage. There are so many factors - I just get really uncomfortable when people start talking about "cutting welfare," because such cuts generally hurt decent people far more than the people that people say they want to get off the rolls. On top of which, the worst people - the ones who won't work, the criminal element? If they don't get help from their government, they often turn to committing crimes, not working.
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#939409 --- 12/16/08 05:08 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: TRD_Tacoma]
sands Offline
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Registered: 09/05/05
Posts: 8255
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: TRD_Tacoma
There has to be a way to get these worthless people off the medicaid roles and out in the work force. There also has to be a way to break the cycle of generation after generation living off welfare and the tax dollars of the working public.



There is. Vote Republican.
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#939493 --- 12/16/08 06:50 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: sands]
TRD_Tacoma Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 12952
Loc: Rochester
Originally Posted By: sands
Originally Posted By: TRD_Tacoma
There has to be a way to get these worthless people off the medicaid roles and out in the work force. There also has to be a way to break the cycle of generation after generation living off welfare and the tax dollars of the working public.



There is. Vote Republican.


Yeah, we see how that worked the past 8 years. And need I remind you that the Monroe County Executive is a Republican (Airhed Maggie Brooks) and we know Monroe County is not a shining example of welfare reform... \:\/
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#939505 --- 12/16/08 06:59 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: LaughinWillow]
TRD_Tacoma Offline
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Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 12952
Loc: Rochester
Originally Posted By: LaughinWillow
Back to folks on welfare, TRD, I'm not sure if you're saying that single moms with small children should be forced to work, or if you are referring to people with older kids. Most states only permit women to stay on welfare without working so long as their children are under 5 years (unless they are disabled or seriously ill). So there are programs already in place to force people to get jobs - the problem is that there simply aren't enough decent-paying jobs, and poor people often don't have a way to get to areas that offer more jobs due to the lack of public transportation. This is especially true in rural areas. It seems like we would see - in this time where the middle class claims that it is barely getting by - that it isn't as simple as just going out and "getting a job." Jobs are being lost - even in the low-paying service sector. And instead of tackling problems like lack of public transportation or wages that do not rise with inflation, our "leaders" are handing billions to bankers - supposedly to help them offer more credit (which got us here in the first place).


Yes, single mothers with little children should be out working supporting themselves and their children. They chose to have these kids, it is their responsibility to raise and support them. If I was a single parent, you can be darn sure I wouldn't be sitting at home expecting others to foot the bill for my choices.

As far as jobs, there are jobs available if people are willing to look and obtain them. Point in case, my partner is willing to work a full time job and 2 part time jobs in order to get ahead.

When you talk about lack of public transportation, there is a very simple solution, move closer to where work is. I remember my grandparents talking about how they had to ensure they lived within walking distance to my grandfather's employer because they could not afford to drive long distances.

Do I agree that the government should be giving billions to the banks and the auto industry? Definitely not. Make these companies either sink or swim on their own.

I still say, if people are capable of working, whether they have little children or not, they should be working and if they then still cannot make ends meet, that is when welfare should kick in. If you work and show that you are trying, then you get assistance. You sit at home like a slug, then you don't get assistance. Pretty simple logic to me.
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It's hard for a gay man to feel bad about himself when his urologist asks him out on a date!

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#939508 --- 12/16/08 07:00 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: TRD_Tacoma]
Senecamom Offline
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 7411
Loc: On a journey......
Originally Posted By: TRD_Tacoma
If people learn to live within their means, they won't be out on the streets. For too long, people have been living on credit cards and buying buying buying without thinking if they really need to make that purchase.



OMG We agree.
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#939509 --- 12/16/08 07:01 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: Senecamom]
TRD_Tacoma Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 12952
Loc: Rochester
Originally Posted By: senecamom
Originally Posted By: TRD_Tacoma
If people learn to live within their means, they won't be out on the streets. For too long, people have been living on credit cards and buying buying buying without thinking if they really need to make that purchase.



OMG We agree.


Does that shock you? \:\)
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It's hard for a gay man to feel bad about himself when his urologist asks him out on a date!

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#939511 --- 12/16/08 07:02 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: TRD_Tacoma]
Senecamom Offline
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 7411
Loc: On a journey......
...still say, if people are capable of working, whether they have little children or not, they should be working and if they then still cannot make ends meet, that is when welfare should kick in. If you work and show that you are trying, then you get assistance. You sit at home like a slug, then you don't get assistance. Pretty simple logic to me.....[quote]

Okay this is scary- We agree AGAIN. LOL
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#939526 --- 12/16/08 07:09 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: Senecamom]
TRD_Tacoma Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 12952
Loc: Rochester
You see, I see the people that sit at home and do nothing every day of my life. Further, I see the single mom's that do come to work, in low paying jobs, making every effort to pay for themselves and their children.

The think that seems to differentiate these two groups of people: Pride.
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It's hard for a gay man to feel bad about himself when his urologist asks him out on a date!

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#939532 --- 12/16/08 07:13 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: TRD_Tacoma]
Senecamom Offline
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 7411
Loc: On a journey......
I must be in a parallel universe. LOL! I couldn't agree more.
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#939533 --- 12/16/08 07:13 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: TRD_Tacoma]
threesons Offline
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Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 4233
Loc: Hysteria Lane
I just need to mention that I'm the obese one who drinks Diet Coke, and my skinny little kids drink regular sodas.....however not often for them as it's considered a 'treat' around here. It is annoying how many people let their kids drink sodas all the time.
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#939552 --- 12/16/08 07:26 PM Re: Paterson "obesity tax" ahahah [Re: threesons]
LaughinWillow Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/12/01
Posts: 1950
Loc: State of Emergency
I just think that saying that single mothers with small children should just go work is short-sighted. It doesn't benefit our society to have hundreds of thousands of children being raised in daycare so that their mothers can work at low-paying jobs (though it certainly benefits companies like McDonalds and WalMart). Further, child support requirements and enforcement for fathers in this country is laughable. Sure, these women "chose" to have these children, but they certainly didn't impregnate themselves. I suppose the answer is, "Well, of course the fathers should be taking care of their children," but THEY'RE NOT. It is the fathers, if anyone, who should be forced to work as wage slaves.

A perfect solution to all of this would be to make minimum wage a living wage. It is outrageous that anyone should have to work full time in this country for less than the poverty level. Especially when the people at the tops of the same companies are often making 300 times the lowest worker's salary. It just isn't right.
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