Soda Tax, Tuition Hikes to Again Get Budget Consideration

Gov. David Paterson is forcing the Legislature to reconsider some of his ideas that have already been rejected, including the hotly debated proposal for a soda tax.

Paterson on Sunday announced the agenda for the session he called for Wednesday to finally close the state budget that was due April 1.

Items on the agenda include his proposed cap on local property taxes, a plan to allow the public universities to set higher tuition without legislative approval and authorization to sell wine in grocery stores.

Paterson has also included on the agenda his controversial proposal for a penny-per-ounce tax on sugared beverages on the agenda for a special legislative session called for Wednesday to deal with the 16-weeks-late budget.

The tax, which the Senate and Assembly both dismissed, is projected to generate up to $815 million a year for state coffers.

The Democrat-led Senate needs to approve a single revenue bill to complete the budget.

Paterson added the additional items. When a governor calls an extraordinary session compelling the Legislature back into session the governor sets the agenda.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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