New Haven Mayor Wants Tax on Sugary Drinks

By Jeff Saperstone
|  Friday, Feb 7, 2014  |  Updated 3:03 PM EDT
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New Haven mayor Toni Harp wants tax on sugary drinks

Nader Abu-Rabei

New Haven mayor Toni Harp wants tax on sugary drinks

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As Governor Dannel Malloy laid out his 2014 agenda on Thursday he focused much of his State of the State speech on jobs and education.

The governor also pointed out the state’s accomplishments including the fact that Connecticut is one of the healthiest states in the country.

“Number one in the health of its citizens,” said Malloy.

Toni Harp watched the speech for the first time in her new role as mayor of the city of New Haven. She wants to present a bill that would impose an obesity tax on sugary drinks. She came to the Capitol to get the ear of lawmakers.

“I want us to be even healthier,” said Harp, after the speech. “I want us to reduce our rates of obesity.”

Harp didn’t talk specifics about her plan, but she’d like it to be statewide.

“It has the potential of one, making us healthy, and two, reducing our health care costs as a city and as a state,” she said.

The idea, while controversial in come circles, is not new. 

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to ban large sugary drinks but his plan was ultimately shot down by a judge. An appeal of the ruling is pending.

Malloy’s busy agenda during a short legislative session means it will be difficult for state lawmakers to tackle much else.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey called Harp’s idea a good one but wasn’t confident it would make their agenda.

“I'm not sure that's something that we could completely take on in this short session,” Sharkey said.

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