Bloomberg, Cuomo, and Sandra Lee in Tax Policy Triangle

April 1, 2013

A clash of New York titans is in the works: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with his reputation for fighting against obesity with large-soda bans and snack taxes, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose girlfriend is Food Network host Sandra Lee. Bloomberg started with this salvo today:

“Charming though she may be, she is ruining our state with her ‘semi-homemade’ recipes that are full of sinful sugar and excess fats,” Bloomberg said. “Instead of penalizing her for producing such garbage, Cuomo is actually subsidizing the Food Network’s interests and damaging the progress I’ve tried to make in combating obesity.”

“I have worked for years to fight obesity in my city, but Andrew and Sandra barge in with unhealthy policies (and recipes) and blindside all of my hard work, but I am not giving up,” said Bloomberg. The mayor of the Big Apple has proposed several options to combat the increased consumption of unhealthy Sandra Lee food, ranging from taxing boxes of cake mix and food coloring, to taxing viewers of the show for “their increased burden on healthy taxpayers’ medical bills.”

Cuomo declined comment, citing an upset stomach from “eating too many fountain dogs.” (A “Fountain Dog” is a Sandra Lee recipe which calls for wrapping bacon around a hotdog)

Critics of taxing sugary foods urge Bloomberg to reconsider his use of taxes as a means of combating obesity. Scott Drenkard of the Tax Foundation notes, “Reducing obesity is an important goal, but policy actions have costs. My largest concern is that placing a tax on cake mix or food coloring is a blanket policy that would affect all New Yorkers. There are many people that enjoy colorfully decorated cakes regularly and make adjustments in their diet elsewhere to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Update–Bloomberg announced he will set aside time to confront Cuomo and Lee tonight in a press-conference on his proposed “Wash em if you’ve got em” bill which would subsidize the use of hand soaps and sanitizers.

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