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Santa Fe Voters To Decide On Soda Tax

A fight over a tax on sugary drinks has turned into a bitter argument in New Mexico’s capitol. Voters in Santa Fe have until Tuesday to decide whether to levy a new tax that would raise the cost of a can of soda by nearly 25 cents.

The citywide tax on distributors would provide Santa Fe an estimated $7.5 million in its first year to expand early childhood education to roughly 1,000 children whose families cannot afford quality preschool and don't qualify for state programs.

Early voting has been underway since April 12 in Santa Fe, and competing political action committees have blanketed the city with advertisements through broadcast and social media and mailbox fliers.

The American Beverage Association has contributed nearly $1 million in an attempt to defeat the measure.

Pro-tax efforts have been bankrolled by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has provided $1.1 million under Santa Fe's approach — which does not apply to artificial sweeteners or diet soda — the tax would be devoted solely to funding preschool.