NJ governor mulls fast-food tax to fund hospitals

While no other state has successfully pulled it off, New Jersey governor Jon Corzine (D) said he's willing to consider a tax on fast food to offset budget cuts that have hit hospitals hard. Corzine has proposed $2.7 billion in cuts to the state budget, including a 14 percent cut in state aid to hospitals. The cut could pose a threat to state hospitals, half of which lost money last year, advocates say. Six New Jersey hospitals have closed in the last 18 months alone.  Now Corzine has dubbed the notion of a fast-food tax, recommended by one hospital, a "constructive suggestion."

The question is whether such a tax would work out. To date, no state or municipality has enacted such a tax, partly because it hits lower-income citizens hardest. Not only that, critics contend that such a tax would raise little money, given consumer cutbacks in spending. State citizens already pay the highest taxes in the U.S. on cigarettes, money that funds health programs.

To learn more about the proposal:
- read this Associated Press piece

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