SANTA FE – Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales is proposing a soda tax, saying the revenue stream from taxing “sugary” drinks is needed to ensure that every young child in the city has access to education programs.
Gonzales, with support from city councilors, public education officials and a coalition of community leaders, gave a presentation at City Hall on Thursday to discuss an expansive early childhood education initiative that would require about $10 million a year to fund.
After determining that small increases in property or gross receipts taxes wouldn’t raise enough, Gonzales said, he’s calling for a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages – that’s 24 cents on a standard 12-ounce can of soda – sold at restaurants or retail stores that would bring in an estimated $10.6 million a year. The measure, if endorsed by the City Council, would be placed on the ballot in a special election.
The early childhood education plan calls for creating 1,250 slots for children – “eventually including every 3- and 4-year-old in the city” – along with an estimated 261 jobs for teachers and staff, and says it will also reduce child care costs for parents.