Voters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, voted down a proposal that would have slapped a tax on sugary drinks, with proceeds to have been designated to funding pre-K programs.
Fifty-eight percent of voters voted Tuesday against the 2 cent per ounce tax that had been championed by city Mayor Javier Gonzales and financially backed in part by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who poured about $1 million into a campaign promoting the tax, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
The controversy bubbling around the issue fueled a bump in voter turnout to 37 percent, higher than the show-up rate when Mr. Gonzales was elected to office in 2014, the Journal reported Wednesday.
While the tax was pitched by Mr. Gonzales and other supporters as a way to help out the city’s poorest residents, evidence shows it was actually the higher-earning Santa Fe precincts that tended to vote in favor of the tax.
The city’s middle- and lower-income neighborhoods were largely against the tax, while the affluent north and east sides were essentially split, the Journal reported.
Susana Martinez, the state’s second-term Republican governor who is suffering from low approval ratings in the generally liberal Democratic state, wasted no time in seizing on the news to train fire on liberals in the state legislature.
“Tonight’s results send a clear message: even in arguably the most liberal city in the state, New Mexicans don’t have the appetite to pay higher taxes,” Mrs. Martinez said in a statement, reported the Journal. “This was the same out-of-touch agenda that Santa Fe lawmakers tried to jam through when they passed a $350 million tax increase — including raising the price of gas. Hopefully, legislators heard this message.”