SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The proposed two-cent per ounce tax on sodas and sugary beverages in the city of Santa Fe is creating controversy. This weekend, the public will have another chance to weigh in, but some in the business community are already sounding the alarm that the tax will be too high.
“I assure you we cannot absorb this tax,” said Kathy Hart, Vice President and Human Resources Manager for Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Santa Fe.
Hart was among the opponents who spoke before the city council last week.
Mayor Javier Gonzales of Santa Fe, told KRQE News 13, “I would say to the Hart family and any other distributor to join our efforts to fully fund early childhood development.”
“We would no longer be a profitable business and would have to close our doors. Most of our jobs will be lost,” she said.
“What we do know, based on where it has been implemented, is jobs have not been lost, that consumption has not, unfortunately, gone down significantly,” said Mayor Gonzales. “This new dedicated revenue source for early childhood developer would generate over seven million dollars annually.”
“I spoke to my counterpart in Philadelphia, where they have an even lower tax that just went into effect. They’ve seen their sales decline by 40 percent already,” Hart told the council.
“We do support early childhood education,” she stressed, emphasizing they are exploring several efforts in the New Mexico Legislature to address the funding issue.
On Feb. 8, the City Council will reach a decision if a public hearing will take place on the matter.
If the tax proposal moves ahead, it would go before the voters in an election in May.