ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While the vote on a soda tax in Santa Fe is less than a week away, KRQE News 13 has learned that there are already discussions about trying it in Albuquerque too.
The tax on sugary drinks would be used to fund early childhood education.
While some people are concerned the tax would hit low-income and working class families the hardest, KRQE News 13 also talked to people who said the tax is a good idea to fund pre-kindergarten for kids in need.
Voters in Santa Fe will decide Tuesday on a tax on sugary drinks that the mayor says will result in more than $7 million for pre-kindergarten classes for students from lower-income families.
The tax would be charged to soda distributors. But if distributors pass on the cost to consumers, critics say, lower-income families will be hit hardest.
In that case, the Santa Fe proposal of 2-cents on the ounce could mean a 12-pack of soda could cost an extra $2.88.
“I would probably end up going to Albuquerque to buy my sodas because I don’t want to pay so much for something that I can get somewhere else for a lot cheaper,” said Santa Fe resident Janet Armijo.
That’s unless Albuquerque does it, too.
KRQE News 13 has learned early childhood education advocates are watching the upcoming Santa Fe vote closely as they start discussions about the possibility of voting on the tax in Albuquerque as well.
Some Albuquerque residents said it would be good, that sugary soda, sports drinks and juices aren’t healthy anyway and it’s for a good cause.
“Early developmental stuff is very important, so why shouldn’t they do that for the kids?” asked Aspen Byrd.
“I hope that the tax actually does come to Albuquerque,” said Helen Lucero.
Others weren’t so sure about the idea.
“Yeah that’s a lot of money,” said Karen Montano. “I think it’s totally unfair.”
“I don’t want soda being any more expensive than it is and I’m for early childhood education,” said Travese Spragg.
A big backer of the tax in Santa Fe, nonprofit OLÉ New Mexico, did not confirm or deny any efforts to push for the tax in Albuquerque.
The organization simply stressed the importance of early childhood education.