Transcript: Need to Know Rochester for March 19, 2010

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Coming up on Need to Know…

 

Other states have “soda taxes,” but none are as big as the one New York’s health commissioner is pushing for.

 

(Julie) So this would be the most significant soda tax in the country?

 

(Dr. Daines) Yes, in terms of having a significant amount applying at the excise level and a whole state population, rather than a sub-population or a brief trial. You know, this is New York, we lead, we don’t wait for Arkansas to do things.

 

We talk to Dr. Richard Daines about this billion dollar revenue raiser – and how he plans to overcome significant opposition from state lawmakers.

 

Also, tracing the connection between Susan B. Anthony, and the nursing profession.

 

(Hughes) "This is the cradle of nursing, right here, this is where it all happens, and this is where it all got started. And Susan B. Anthony was a part of that."

 

We examine efforts to uncover some of Anthony’s lesser known accomplishments.

 

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(ANNOUNCER)  ROCHESTER'S NEWSMAGAZINE SINCE 1997, THIS IS NEED TO KNOW.

 

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I’M JULIE PHILIPP, THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME FOR THIS EDITION OF NEED TO KNOW.

 

NEW YORK STATE LAWMAKERS ARE SUPPOSED TO PASS A BUDGET IN FEWER THAN TWO WEEKS.  THERE ARE VERY FEW SIGNS, HOWEVER, INDICATING THEY ARE EVEN CLOSE TO AGREEING ON A PLAN.  BUT LEGISLATIVE LEADERS HAVE SPOKEN OUT AGAINST ONE PROPOSAL TO RAISE REVENUE – THE SO CALLED SODA TAX.  THIS IS THE SECOND YEAR THE PATERSON ADMINISTRATION HAS PROPOSED SUCH A TAX.  LEGISLATORS REJECTED IT LAST YEAR. EVEN SO, NEW YORK STATE HEALTH COMMISSIONER DR. RICHARD DAINES HAS BEEN CONTINUING TO CAMPAIGN FOR THE TAX STATEWIDE.  I SAT DOWN WITH HIM WHEN HE STOPPED IN ROCHESTER EARLIER THIS WEEK.

 

(Julie) As a budget deadline approaches you and the governor both traveling the state pushing really hard for the soda tax

 

(Daines) That's Right.

 

(Julie) Could you describe what that is?

 

(Daines) Well it a tax an excised tax on the concentrate syrups from which our sugary drinks are made.  By the time it works its way to the consumer it'll be about one penny more an ounce for a drink. So a twelve ounce can of soda will cost twelve cents more, and just do that math for the size of containers that you’re buying.

 

(Julie) so as an excise tax the way consumers will see it is right on the price tag, not when they get to the cash register. 

 

(Daines) Right and that's an advantage so when your looking at that cold display case and deciding which beverage to buy, the sugary one with the calories you don't need will be more expensive than the low calorie no calorie choice and we know price drives consumers every day to make it make the other choice.

 

(Julie) Why is this so important to you?

 

(Daines) I'll go to the beginning, we have had a thirty year epidemic of obesity in this country and in New York now thirty five percent of our kids are overweight or obese, sixty percent of adults it's driving our health care cost crisis it's a national security problem, two out of ten military applicants males are rejected because they're overweight. Four out of ten women are rejected it's the biggest driver of our healthcare crisis in the future we have to do something about it. everyone in the Public Health and nutritional science that looks at this said the other thing that's happened over those same thirty years is our consumption of sugary beverages has gone for instance from seventy calories a day up to a hundred and ninety calories a day or more. They're what has pushed the American diet out of balance and we have to correct it there are five reasons we consume too much sugary soda. They're under Priced, they've gotten cheaper and cheaper compared to everything else in the market basket you've all seen it the same time they've gotten bigger and bigger the containers have gone from seven and a half to twelve to fourteen to twenty two to forty four ounces become very standard things so too cheap, too Big, they're available everywhere you turn twenty four hours a day every season of the year they're too available and they're very very heavily marketed, so they're cheap they're big, they're available everywhere and they're sold to everyone including children and the fifth thing about them, and this sounds almost like an advertising jingle, they're uniquely non-filling. We consume those hundred and ninety calories on top of everything else in our diet and we don't subtract them from our choices later in the day that's what's unique everything else we eat the cheese Danish even even the hamburger we tend to consciously subtract some of those calories later in the day the people of Cornell and elsewhere have shown that we don't subtract the sugar liquid sugar calories all that works out is they taste really good and we drink too much of them we need to correct

 

(Julie) So you are saying this is really a very primary cause of obesity

 

(Daines) yes yes

 

(Julie) but you can also say candy bars have gotten much bigger, portions have gotten bigger, kids are sitting in front of video games and TV there's a lot of other causes to the obesity epidemic will those be taxed at a later date is that our future?

 

(Daines) No, that's what I've tried to say this is unique it's the single biggest contributor to why our diets are out of balance it has this unique effect that we don't drop our consumption anywhere else. And let's go through that there is an exercise problem who's attracting children to video screens and TV the heaviest marketers are the beverage companies that are putting polar bears and penguins and Santa Claus on it that are putting campaigns on Facebook to keep kids in front of the media so they're part of the problem there as well.  Lots we need to do about obesity and nutrition but the Centers for Disease Control, Tom Freedan, that's there the American Dietetic Association, the Academy of Family Practice says, the single most effective thing we could do to reverse the obesity epidemic is a one cent per ounce tax on sugary beverages, they all agreed the single most effective thing we can do while we do all those other things.

 

(Julie) Some other states are doing this, there are excise taxes on sodas in other states, can you cite any specific research showing the connection between the higher prices and lower consumption

 

(Daines) We actually had a great research study out of the University of Buffalo that week we can provide you copies of that shows exactly that, that if you if you dropped the price of these things there's more consumption if you raise it, the consumption drops and no other state has done what New York is proposing to do to have a very significant tax.  This is about a seventeen percent tax on the whole category of sugary beverages applied across the whole state for a consistent length of time and so you won't demonstrate that principle until you do it but all of the science points this way, and we have small clinical trials and some localities that have done things like this it's been very very effective the industry knows that, they know all this will be decreased consumption or they wouldn't be resisting it, if they can raise their prices seventeen percent and drop consumption they would've done it last year and simply taken more profit.

 

(Julie) So this would be the most significant soda tax in the country?

 

(Daines)Yes and in terms of having a significant amount applying at the excise level and a whole state population rather than a sub population or a brief trial. And this is New York we lead we don't wait for Arkansas to do things.

 

(Julie) Well this is New York too, and it is an election year for all of the state law makers and so far they're not jumping behind this proposal and the kind of numbers you would need to pass it, they rejected it last year, how do you plan to change their mind before the budget deadline?

 

(Daines) Well, you know, the science the evidence base is much stronger and the fact is this is part of the budget, this issue is open as long as the budget is open, I can say until the fat lady sings it's an open issue this is in addition to being the best health and health care cost measures that we have to propose this year, it brings in four hundred and fifty million dollars this year of revenue that we've used so that we can continue to support health care services all over the state this doesn't go away as a budget issue until we either say Well we'll just take four hundred and fifty million dollars more of health care cuts or we say there's another place to find four hundred and fifty million dollars and I don't I don't find any other place in this miserable budget year you can do that this I've told people this is a triple play healthier people, lower healthcare costs and revenue to support health care services. I don't know where else to get a triple play this year.

 

(Julie) and that is a concern the other cuts in this budget there are some pretty significant cuts to healthcare providers or new taxes on health care provider revenues they'll get fewer matching federal funds due to these cuts. What do you tell the people that are so concerned about the cuts that are already being proposed?

 

(Daines) Well you know and we are in our typical and even intensified fight over those budget cuts and we were right there but the one thing they agree with us on is that this tax is a good idea, and they come with both their health care hats on and their health care business hats on, and they're supporting us on this, hospital association of New York state, greater New York Hospital Association, eleven ninety nine SEIU health care workers, they're all supporting us on this.  Two reasons, it solves the healthcare problem begins to solve it, it lowers health care costs for everybody in the future and it is revenue that we can support their services with.

 

(Julie) setting the soda tax aside, how concerned are you that patient care will be lower given the budget cuts that, you know, the health care as a huge part of a state budget that clearly that the state has to cut back

 

(Daines) It's a very very tough year we're asking the healthcare industry to make the kind of sacrifices that every business and every family in the state is making even after these cuts go through their mostly cuts and the rate of growth. New York if you look in terms of Medicaid will be spending more than any other state per capita more per recipient more to our hospitals more to our nursing homes home care and personal care substantially more than any other state in the country so it's not as if we're putting New York on a starvation diet while the rest of the country stays plump, we're all ready to plump the state by a long ways and we just got to start tightening the belt there's no more money to do that with.

 

(Julie) Obviously the lobbyists are hitting hard, what you think's going to happen in the legislature with those cuts with a tax increases?

 

(Daines) Well that that's what I say, the legislature has to deal with it is a whole package. One can't oppose the cuts we have now and then say but I also oppose that revenue source in the in the sugar beverage tax that prevented the cuts from being steeper so every senator this says, I don't like the soda tax, this this revenue was about seven million dollars returned to that senatorial election district and they'll have to answer to their health care providers where they're going to find another seven million dollars of cuts or another seven million dollars of revenue from their taxpayers and business community and I I think as long as we understand you deal with it is a whole package, you know I've had an interesting phenomenon I've traveled all over the state and there are people that want to say this this is an older it's a dead issue its over, it's not as I said it's open as long as the budget is open but I've found something else I think the reason people want to say it's close is there are avoiding this kind of a policy discussion I've asked the beverage industry let's talk let's have a debate let's exchanged positions they won't appear with me I've said before that their arguments go flat when you expose them to air they are full of bubbles and sugar.  The reason they don't want, is when serious people sit down and talk about obesity and health and productivity and health care costs this starts to be kind of a good idea and we start to change minds and people come around, there has been polling done that says if you just say to people what you think about a fat tax on soda? they say absolutely not and then you go back to the same people and you say what would you think of a tax on sugary beverages to reduce obesity and we would use the money to support health care services and the public flips fifty six seventy percent say,  we're willing to talk about that in this tough year so this is an issue that if we will have this this discussion this reasonable back and forth, I believe minds can be changed and I'm willing to engage in the dialogue and let, let, let it come out where it does but let's have a dialogue about while the budget is open, let's not just say it's off the table because something else has got to be on the table and this is a lot more appetizing than anything else.

 

NEW YORK STATE HEALTH COMMISSIONER DR. RICHARD DAINES.  WE CHANGE GEARS SLIGHTLY NOW, TO THE HISTORY OF HEALTH CARE AND HOW ONE OF ROCHESTER’S MOST FAMOUS RESIDENTS PLAYED A ROLE IN DETERMINING WHAT NURSES NEED TO KNOW IN ORDER TO DO THEIR JOB.  WXXI’S CARLET CLEARE OPENS A LITTLE KNOWN PAGE IN OUR HISTORY BOOK.

 

(Deborah Hughes) "This is the cradle of nursing, right here, this is where it all happened, and this is where it all got started. And Susan B. Anthony was a part of that."

 

(Carlet) SUSAN B. ANTHONY IS BEST KNOWN FOR HER PASSIONATE FIGHT FOR WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE. BUT IN 1902, SHE PUT HER ORATORICAL SKILLS TO USE ON ANOTHER CAUSE - - IMPROVING THE NURSING PROFESSION.

 

(Kathleen Britton) “the only title really that nurses had had up to that point was "trained nurse" and really anybody could be a trained nurse, it didn't, hopefully you had some education, but you might have just done it as an apprentice or picked it up along the way. You didn’t necessarily have to have gone to school

 

(Carlet) A STATEWIDE NURSE’S CONVENTION WAS HELD IN ROCHESTER, AND SOME WERE CALLING FOR STANDARDIZED TRAINING FOR ALL NURSES. ANTHONY WAS THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER.

 

(Hughes) “Anthony, who was 82 years old at the time, spent the whole day, stayed on the podium the whole day, attended all the meetings and actually spoke twice. And was a strong advocate to say that 'yes' there should be standardized training."

 

(Britton) “She spoke about the difficulties that they had, women in general, especially the women in medicine, had overcome to that point. Talking about the difficulties that the first female physicians had had in training. And was foreseeing some time in the future when nurses would need to have college degrees.

 

(Carlet) ANTHONY KNEW FIRST-HAND ABOUT BEDSIDE CARE. THE WOMEN’S RIGHTS ACTIVIST HAD HELP “DOCTOR” HER BROTHER, DANIEL, BACK TO HEALTH AFTER HE SUFFERED A GUNSHOT WOUND AND WAS BLEEDING INTERANLLY.

 

(Hughes) "She was among those who sat by his bed for five weeks applying direct pressure to that artery and it actually, much to the surprise of the doctor's, it healed. And he recovered from that.”

 

(Carlet) ANTHONY WAS ALSO A FRIEND TO ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS NURSES  - - CLARA BARTON, FOUNDER OF THE AMERICAN RED CROSS. DURING THE 1902 CONVENTION, ANTHONY HELPED INSPIRE EVA ALLERTON AND SOPHIA PALMER OF THE FLEDGING NEW YORK STATE NURSING ASSOCIATION. ALLERTON DRAFTED A PLAN TO MOVE FORWARD.

 

(Britton) "Between the two of them, they were really the driving force between getting the Armstrong Act structured and pushed through. Eva was the one who contacted Senator Armstrong, state senator Armstrong, and got him interested. She also really kept a pulse on the opinions regarding the bill.

 

(Carlet) SIX MONTHS AFTER ANTHONY’S ROUSING SPEECHES, THE NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATURE ADOPTED THE ARMSTRONG ACT. THIS LAW PLACED ALL NURSING SCHOOLS UNER THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, AND REQUIRED A COMMON SET OF COURSES FOR GRADUATION. THE BILL ALSO CREATED THE TITLE OF REGISTERED NURSE, OR “RN”. A YEAR LATER, CANADIAN IMMIGRANT, IDA JANE ANDERSON, BECAME THE FIRST REGISTERED NURSE IN NEW YORK STATE. SHE GRADUATED FROM ROCHESTER HOMEOPATHIC HOSPITAL SCHOOL OF NURSING, TODAY’S GENESEE HOSPITAL. NOW IN MONROE COUNTY, THERE ARE OVER 9,000, AND 208,000 IN NEW YORK - - COMPARED TO 2,500 TRAINED NURSES IN THE EARLY 1900s.

 

(Lori Dambaugh) "As a registered nurse we work in many settings, we can work in a hospital, we can work in the community, we can work in the jail system, we can work in doctor's offices. What we really do is asses the whole patient, mind, body, spirit and performs those interventions.

 

(Carlet) HUGHES SAYS SUSAN B. ANTHONY KNEW THAT THE DAY WOULD COME THAT “TRAINED” NURSES WOULD NEED COLLEGE DEGREES. THAT DAY HAS COME, AND CONTINUES TO MOVE FORWARD.

 

(Hughes) "Nursing is so much like the work around suffrage. You're working long-term. Sometimes you don't get a to see the great end result of what you've done, but you are in people's most intimate moments of their life, when they are in pain, suffering and dealing with life or death.”

 

(Carlet) FOR NEED TO KNOW, I’M CARLET CLEARE.

 

WXXI’S CARLET CLEARE.  HER REPORT IS PART OF A YEAR-LONG OCCASIONAL SERIES ON SUSAN B. ANTHONY AND THE 90TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 19TH AMENDMENT – GIVING WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN 1920.  THE SUSAN B. ANTHONY HOUSE HAS CREATED A GROUP CALLED NURSING FRIENDS OF SUSAN B. ANTHONY. THEY MEET REGULARLY TO EXPLORE THE HISTORY OF NURSING – AND THEY ARE IN THE VERY EARLY STAGES OF DEVELOPING A CREDITED COURSE FOR NURSES THAT WOULD BE TAUGHT IN SUSAN B. ANTHONY’S CARRIAGE HOUSE.

 

IT’S TIME NOW FOR THE BUSINESS SECTION WITH THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE.

 

(Julie)  Democrat and Chronicle Business Reporter Matt Daneman joins us as he does every Friday. Good to see you.

 

(Matt)  Julie always good to be here.

 

(Julie)  Let's start out with Bausch and Lomb. Some changes at the top over there.

 

(Matt)  Yeah sort of a lightening strike quick in top executive management there. And what we'll see out of that is presumably quite a bit of change in the company. Gerald Ostrov had been CEO and Chairman of the company since 2008, he has now been replaced lickity split with a new CEO and a new Chairman both of whom come from Schering-Plough a large pharmaceutical company that Merk picked up in 2009. I just got off the phone a little bit today with the Chairman of B & L now Fred Hassan. A lot of what you are hearing now is that they are very much ramping up for and pushing for big growth with B & L. The word growth and the word power up, these phrases get thrown around constantly. And you're really going to see an emphasis on this, which is not a surprise this is what every company pushes for. But it sounds like they are trying to go for a very much different approach than they have in the last couple of years, where it is was about getting over all of the trauma and all of the business issues that came with all those law suits against B & L. So now we've gone from trying to stabilize things to try to really ramp up business.

 

(Julie)  Okay so Gerald Ostrov took it over in the middle of the problems around the moisture lock solution?

 

(Matt)  Renew with moisture lock yes and the recalls and all of the law suits.

 

(Julie)  So is the thinking that these new people at the top have the strength to grow, where as he was sort of the person that could get them through the difficult times?

 

(Matt)  Well that seems to be the company line right now. When Gerald Ostrov was hired they were talking about growth then too. Now with two new people they are saying now we really mean growth. So their is obviously things behind the scenes that we aren't privileged to.

 

(Julie)  Any idea of what this might mean for employment in Rochester?

 

(Matt)  In talking to the CEO this guy Brent Saunders it's all very preliminary; he's right now on this world wide tour visiting every site of B & L around the globe, sort of listening and figuring out what is going on with the company, figure out how to grow, no immediate plans for major changes in Rochester one way or the other.  Better than finding out that everything is going to be outsourced to New Jersey.

 

(Julie) Harris RF also expanding in a sense

 

(Matt) Very much so, here's a company, its manufacturing a military radio and radios for first responders to emergencies, It's been spread across four buildings all within a mile or so of each other in Rochester the have bought a 500 square foot building from Xerox, More than 500, putting all of their manufacturing operations in Rochester under that roof, so they're going to be moving people and all sorts of equipment to a big building on Jefferson Road, what this does for Harris is this makes manufacturing a lot easier, a lot more efficient, it gives them a lot more elbow room too. Hopefully they'll expand more in the future and hire more too.  What it does for Xerox is here's a company that's been shrinking it's footprint in Rochester getting rid of a lot of unused real estate, here's one less building the need and they can consolidate more people into Webster and Downtown, upping efficiency too

 

(Julie) What about the buildings Harris is moving out of?

 

(Matt) The four building that they operate now in Rochester two are staying, one is filled with Engineers, they're in the University, Humbolt, Culver Area, In that cluster over there, two they're keeping one they're in a lease of, and are getting out of that lease, and the fourth one sounds like they're looking for some way to turn it over to the city maybe even bulldozing it, some kind of option but they're not planning to stay in that building but what to do with it they're not sure.

 

(Julie) Finally, the brewery had a sort of open house this week

 

(Matt) Yes Genesee brewery, sort of marking their one year anniversary of being purchased by NY private equity firm, open their doors talk to the media a bit, gave a status update and their status sounds pretty good. last year they've gone from 420 employees to 470 they're sale of Genesee product which had been a major focus for them when the private equity firm took over up about 11%, revenues, I think it was 260 million dollars is 2009, so you're seeing some real signs of health and vitality in that company, they've put a lot of money behind marketing and distribution as well as a lot of money in the plant itself in terms of greater efficiencies and such so a nice sign, a nice growth story here in Rochester right now.

 

(Julie) they expect to continue through the year?

 

(Matt)  very much so they're introducing new products and looking to continue the growth.

 

(Julie) Ok, thanks Matt. MATT DANEMAN IS A BUSINESS REPORTER FOR THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. BEFORE WE GO, I WANT TO LET YOU KNOW ABOUT A TELEVISED FORUM WXXI IS HOSTING ON APRIL FIRST.  POINT BY POINT IS A FORUM ON MAYORAL CONTROL OF ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOLS. WE WILL HAVE MAYOR ROBERT DUFFY, SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT MALIK EVANS, AS WELL AS ONE OF THE NATION’S LEADING EDUCATION POLICY RESEARCHERS – JOSEPH VITERITTI ON HAND TO ANSWER QUESTIONS FROM CITIZENS AND JOURNALISTS INCLUDING OUR OWN BOB SMITH, AS WELL AS OTHERS FROM OUR FORUM PARTNERS CITY NEWSPAPER AND W-D-K-X FM.  WATCH POINT BY POINT ON THURSDAY NIGHT, APRIL FIRST BEGINNING AT EIGHT.

 

I’M JULIE PHILIPP.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS PROGRAMMING HERE ON WXXI.  GOOD NIGHT.

 

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