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Roman Catholic church backs Santa Fe soda tax

The Associated Press
April 20, 2017 06:52 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Church is endorsing a proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in New Mexico's state capital city.

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The Archdiocese of Santa Fe threw its support Wednesday behind a soda tax of 2 cents per fluid ounce that would go toward expanding prekindergarten programs. Santa Fe voters will decide on the local tax May 2.

In a news release, the archdiocese says municipal governments are being left with little choice other than to fund their own early childhood education programs because of a lack of state funding.

The Archdiocese's statement:

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe endorses the proposed soda tax by the City of Santa Fe in order to fund early childhood programs. New Mexico ranks number one in the United States for children living in poverty and second highest for children living in hunger. Because of the New Mexico State Senate’s lack of action to fund early childhood programs, municipalities are left with few choices.

The soda tax is a good attempt to address the dire conditions in which our children are living. In good conscience, we cannot let our children stagnate in the plight they are in, with some of the worst wellbeing outcomes in the nation. Until the New Mexico State Senate passes the constitutional amendment for early childhood, municipalities must seek funding for essential programs.

The very same business associations that opposed the constitutional amendment for early childhood, which is not a tax, now oppose a tax to fund these children's programs. The business associations leave no option. We must put our children first.  If the State fails to address this, then we commend municipalities for taking action to address the wellbeing of our children.

Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester previously criticized state lawmakers this year for not approving a proposed constitutional amendment to fund early childhood education with money from a state sovereign wealth fund.

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The Associated Press

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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