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Many supporters and opposers of the newly proposed 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages stood in lines for hours to voice their opinions about whether the governing body should put the question before voters during May’s special election.
Supporters of the tax, like Paul Gibson wanted the special election, explaining that it is a worthy investment to spend the estimated $85,000 for the special election as voters will be distracted by other issues in May.
However, employees of the soda industry urged to delay the vote or find another funding source for pre-K, as the tax is proposed to support funding of pre-kindergarten for low-income families. One employee, Joseph Sanchez explained to Santa Fe New Mexican news, that they aren’t bad people and they support help for pre-k but do not support the tax.
Mayor Gonzales, who proposed the tax, is pushing the tax for voters to decide on the earlier date of May 2nd, hoping to start support early for the nearly one thousand children in need of funding of early education.
“The longer that we wait, that just means that those three and four-year-olds won’t have access. They’re going to enter kindergarten further back than they should and that just creates educational challenges as they move up towards education,” Mayor Gonzales told local KRQE News 13.
The Municipal Election is set for March for the soda tax to be put on the ballot if approval for the May 2nd date is not approved.
The tax opposers argue that the tax will not be a sustainable fund but supports argue that not only will it help fund pre-k but will also decrease consumption of soft drinks by the most price-sensitive and vulnerable city residents.