Last year, former Gov. David Paterson pushed a plan to levy a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary soft drinks in NY State, which was repeatedly rejected by Albany, and finally "killed" by current Gov. Andrew Cuomo. So how much money did Big Soda lobbyists spend to make sure that tax never made it into our supermarkets?
According to an analysis by government reform group NYPIRG, the American Beverage Association, whose members include PepsiCo and the Coca-Cola Co., spent $12.9 million to fight the tax, the most by one individual lobbying group. Altogether, a whopping $210.6 million was spent lobbying Albany last year, a new record. For some comparison, $198 million was spent in 2009, and only $80 million in 2001.
The second biggest lobbying group was the United Federation of Teachers, who spent $7.8 million; health care led all sectors by spending $36 million on lobbying last year, followed by trade associations and real estate/construction interests. Another notable figure: upstate grocery chain Wegmans Food Markets spent $1.3 million to advance Paterson's proposal to expand wine sales to grocery stores...which didn't work out so well for them.