El Monte city officials are hoping a soda tax will help the San Gabriel suburb avoid financial insolvency.
The city is struggling with falling sales tax revenues, high labor costs and decreased state funding. To help close some of the financial gaps, tonight the city council will consider declaring a fiscal emergency.
That move would allow the city to hold a special election in fall, when residents would vote on a tax proposal that would place a tax on sugary drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages would be hit with a one cent per ounce tax, if voters approve the measure.
A city report says the tax could bring the city as much as $7 million in annual revenues. But, is it fair to levy a sin tax and not address the health costs associated with the offending substance? Or is this a proactive way to stave off bankruptcy that other struggling California cities have opted for?
Andre Quintero, mayor of El Monte
George Hacker, Senior Policy Advisor, Health Promotion Policy, Center for Science Public Interest