As part of his desperate effort to close an estimated $15 billion budget deficit this year and next, Governor Paterson is proposing, among other things, a tax on roughly 15% of non-diet soft drinks, the Daily News reports. On Tuesday Paterson will officially announce his $121 billion budget, which emphasizes broad cuts in education and Medicaid. "I expect it to be an unmitigated disaster for health care institutions in New York," Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, tells the Times. The obesity tax would raise some $404 million a year, but the state shouldn't expect any revenue boost from teens like Amaury Garcia, 16, who works at a flower shop in Penn Station. She tells the News the tax would simply drive her to abstinence: "I don't like to buy Diet Coke. I'll just not buy any sodas if it goes up."
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