Dr. Nirav Shah, who won Senate approval today to become the new state Department of Health commissioner, is not a fan of the soda tax.
Shah, a Buffalo native, reiterated the stance of the Cuomo administration when it comes to new taxes: no way.
“We have talked about pediatric obesity and other approaches to combating this disease,” he said at a news conference with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “We remain committed to no new taxes at this time.”
Shah said the state was considering other ways to reduce obesity in children without resorting to a tax. The so-called “sugar tax” was backed by the last Health Department head, Richard Daines. Gov. David Paterson also wanted the tax in place in order to close last year’s budget deficit. The tax failed in the Legislature, where it was a non-starter.
Shah said there’s no evidence to suggest the tax would help make the state any healthier.
“We don’t know if it’s effective or not. We’re trying different demonstration projects,” he said.