New Mexico lawmaker proposes junk food tax

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – You could soon pay more for your favorite ice cream or potato chips if a New Mexico lawmaker has his way. A Gallup senator wants to tax junk food.

Candy, pastries, cookies, cake and chips — they’re all considered food with little to no nutritional value and all could be taxed.

“Everybody has a sweet tooth, right? It just depends on how sweet your tooth is how much you’re going to pay,” said Democratic Sen. George Munoz.

Sen. Munoz is sponsoring Senate Bill 416. It proposes a tax on junk food in gas stations and grocery stores. He says the legislature must raise revenue and says taxes would be an acceptable solution.

The thing is, with a declining population and a high unemployment rate, Sen. Munoz says he doesn’t want to hurt people’s wallets. He believes bringing back a food tax just for junk food would be fair to everyone and hopes to bring in between $30 and $50 million a year with it.

Several Albuquerque shoppers KRQE News 13 spoke to weren’t on board.

“I think it’s ridiculous. Why would they tax on anything just because it’s a little bit sweet? They’re just looking for any reason to make money,” said one shopper.

Another shopper says he believes the tax unfairly targets the working class.

“Going after the people that are low and middle class,” said Avery Pasquier.

Munoz says the tax would be similar to a sales tax. That’s a little more than 7 percent.

Gov. Bill Richardson did away with a food tax in 2005. All attempts to reinstate it have failed.

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