In December, Governor Paterson floated the idea of an 18% tax non-diet soft drinks, as part of a plan to close the $3 billion budget gap and perhaps influence New Yorkers to choose healthier beverages. Then the beverage industry opened up a can of whoop-ass, and Paterson backed off, explaining that "often publicity is as important as legislation." Now, perhaps inspired by a 3 cent tax on soda being considered in Washington, Paterson has revived his own soda tax dreams.

Appearing on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC yesterday, Paterson said, "I promise I will put (the soda tax) back in my budget address and give the Legislature another chance to do it. But you can't keep voting down the ways to create revenues and then saying you don't want to make cuts." Paterson made the remarks in response to Democratic Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries's recent call for a soda tax, and told Lehrer, "[Jeffries] is right about different ways we can enhance revenues if the Legislature will agree to it. But he's totally wrong because I'm talking about payments that must be met by Dec. 15th."

Paterson also stressed that the state's budget crisis really is a nightmare, and complained that nobody's listening to him: "I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this before people understand and are persuaded that we have to act now." Got it, New York? You've got until December 15th to come up with the money, or basically Christmas is going to be canceled.