SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – With less than a week to go before the soda tax election in Santa Fe, the ad war is escalating and money is pouring in from around the country. Outside organizations and even former political leaders are trying to persuade voters.
Media sales managers say each side has reportedly spent about $250,000 for television ads in the hopes of persuading voters. Most of that is funded by deep pockets outside of Santa Fe.
“Here it’s a Santa Fe issue,” said Santa Fe City Councilor Ron Trujillo. “Yet outside money is coming from everywhere. Bloomberg, does he really care about the people here in Santa Fe, is this really an issue that pertains to him?”
“We were more than happy to accept his money because we understand that we were up against the beverage industry,” said Carla Lopez, Chairwoman for Pre-K For Santa Fe. “…the beverage industry has given almost the same amount of money to the opposition as we’ve gotten from Bloomberg.”
The election is costing Santa Fe around $85,000 — money that will be recouped from the tax if voters pass it. If not, city councilors say that will be money lost.
At least eight other cities around the country have soda taxes, including Berkeley and San Francisco, California and Seattle, Washington.
Mayor Javier Gonzales’ office estimates that the tax would generate about $7.4-million, which would provide pre-kindergarten classes for students from lower income families. Right now, advocates for pre-kindergarten say there are close to 1,000 students who could benefit from that. Both sides of the tax issue agree that pre-k needs funding, it’s just a matter of where it comes from.