The mayor announced his proposal last week and said that city estimates the tax would generate $10.6 million per year to fund Pre-K programs. He wants the tax to be presented to voters at a special election.
After hearing from several members of Gonzales’ Santa Fe Early Childhood Initiative Working Group about the benefits of the proposal, no one on Finance Committee questioned the virtues of early childhood education.
But some councilors had questions about how the money would be distributed, whether revenue estimates were accurate, and if the city even had the authority to impose the tax.
Boulder, Colo., a city slightly larger than Santa Fe where voters last week approved a 2-cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks, estimated its revenues would be only about $3.8 million per year. Voters in three San Francisco Bay-area cities, and Cook County in Illinois, which includes Chicago, also recently approved soda taxes.
A fact sheet provided Monday says Boulder’s tax doesn’t apply to diet drinks, as the Santa Fe proposal would, and that Santa Fe has more tourists than Boulder.