New Mexico lawmaker seeks survey to consider statewide soda tax

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Santa Fe saw voters come out in droves to shoot down a controversial soda tax. Now, a state lawmaker is looking at a so-called “sugary drink tax” on a statewide level.

“If we could reduce the consumption of soft drinks by increasing the tax, that they don’t pay anything at all on now, I think it would balance the ledger a little bit,” said Sen. Jerry Ortiz Y Pino.

Fixing the state’s deficit, while promoting a healthier lifestyle; Sen. Ortiz Y Pino of Albuquerque (D) believes a tax on soda could greatly benefit New Mexicans. That’s why he’s proposing a Senate Joint Memorial. It’s not a piece of legislation that would tax soda though.

Read the proposal >>

“[It’s] a study of the benefits and the costs of taxing sugared soft drink beverages,” said Ortiz Y Pino.

Although some New Mexicans have already made their opinions on the issue known.

Earlier this year, voters in Santa Fe rejected the controversial soda tax during a fiercely fought special election. However, Sen. Ortiz Y Pino says what he’s looking toward is different than what the capitol city was proposing.

“All we’re proposing is a regular sales tax. Santa Fe was proposing an extra tax on soft drinks,” he said.

Ortiz Y Pino says soda is considered a food item, so it isn’t taxed. He believes since it’s not actually food, it should be subjected to a sales tax like all other non-food items.

To no surprise, people had mixed feelings about the idea of paying more for their sugary drinks.

“You know, use for worthwhile projects, a few cents is not going to really hurt all that much,” said Brad Nunn.

“I disagree on that because I love soda and some people don’t have enough money to be taxed on soda,” said Ronald Padilla.

“I don’t agree with it. No, I don’t agree with the tax on the soda,” said Jimmy Moya.

Sen. Ortiz Y Pino says if this study shows a financial benefit from taxing soda, he will draft up legislation for his fellow lawmakers and the governor to consider in 2019.

Gov. Martinez has voiced strong opposition to raising taxes throughout her time in office. She’ll be out of office before the 2019 legislative session.

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