- Santa Fe voters rejected a proposed 2-cents-per-ounce tax on the distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages, according to the Albuquerque Journal. A majority 58% voted "no."
- A record number of registered voters — 37.6% — turned out for the special election.
- Over the past six months, five U.S. cities and Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, approved similar taxes.
Santa Fe residents were clear in their feelings on the proposed 2-cents-per-ounce tax, bringing the first electoral defeat to a soda tax in recent history.
Lauren Kane, senior director of communications for the American Beverage Association, said the people of Santa Fe have sent a clear message: There are better ways to fund programs important to the community than a discriminatory tax.
“Taxes like this one threaten jobs and burden small, local businesses and working-class families the most — not just in Santa Fe but in every community,” she told Food Dive. “Santa Fe voters, like the people of Philadelphia, are aware of the impacts caused by significant taxes on hundreds of beverages at grocery stores and restaurants, including job losses. Santa Feans did not want to see that happen in their hometown.”
Still, some analysts feel that this vote will not stop the momentum of proposed soda taxes elsewhere. Proponents of taxes like this argue that it not only makes people think more about making healthier beverage choices, but the money that’s brought in usually goes towards providing health and wellness education and obesity issues.
Santa Fe's proposed tax was also higher than those that exist currently in Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay area, which potentially contributed to its downfall. Philadelphia's 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax has been blamed for higher grocery bills, falling grocery retail sales and job losses at soda companies and distributors. Berkeley, CA's one-cent-per-ounce soda tax has brought a 10% decrease in sales, but has not seemed to cause the same kind of uproar as Philadelphia's.