It was put forward that NY needed the money this tax would generate. And if this tax wasn't passed then that multi-million (or maybe billion - I wasn't listening that closely) gap would have to be made up another way. So it was imperative for the financial health of the state that this tax be approved.
But these same politicians seemed to have a secondary reason why it was so important to pass this tax. People are fat. And getting fatter. And soda isn't good for them. So a tax will help to keep them from drinking as much soda. It will make them healthier and thinner and the world will be a better place full of rainbows and unicorns (okay, I added that last bit.)
Now, is it just me, or is there a problem with this model? If you desperately need the money, but your tax is going to alter behavior so that not as much of the product is sold - won't that eat into the proposed tax revenue?
Good thing I'm not a politician or an economist. I think my head would explode!