Mayor Javier Gonzales statement on the budget and funding Pre-K
I just sent this statement to the press regarding the budget and funding Pre-K. I don't want there to be any confusion, a vote against the Soda Tax is a vote against Pre-K; there is no money in the current SF City Budget for Pre-K. Please read my statement below and I look forward to the continued conversation. — JG.
Statement from Mayor Javier Gonzales on City Budget and Pre-K
A vote against the Soda Tax is a vote against Pre-K; there is no money in the current SF City Budget for Pre-K.
The Big Soda companies, masquerading as a local group, a Better Way for Santa Fe and Pre-K, are conducting a campaign of disinformation, designed to mislead Santa Fe voters. Let me be clear, there is no money in the current city budget for Pre-K in Santa Fe. For Big Soda and the American Beverage Association to suggest that we can pay for Pre-K from the current Santa Fe budget demonstrates they are either uninformed or deliberately deceptive.
All of the money in the budget is obligated. Eighty percent of the so called “surplus” dollars are in dedicated funds whose uses are restricted for water and wastewater utilities, public transportation and solid waste operations. With more than $175 million in deferred maintenance, a shortage of affordable housing and a need to improve our roads, there is not money to fund Pre-K without the Soda Tax.
There is no “Better Way for Pre-K.“ The best and only way right now to fund Pre-K for 1,000 Santa Fe children, the majority of whom are Hispanic, is the Soda Tax. Big Soda companies purposely target advertising at Hispanics, and we already have one of the highest obesity rates and, according to CDC, are already at higher risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Overconsumption of soda puts our kids at risk of developing diabetes and other chronic diseases and the director of the CDC said that soda taxes are “the single most effective measure to reduce the obesity epidemic.”
We cannot let Big Soda and the American Beverage Association put their profits before our kids and their future. Studies show that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age 5 and the Santa Fe Soda Tax will pay for Pre-K for 1,000 kids every year who will not currently have it. Again, a vote against the Soda Tax is a vote against Pre-K for Santa Fe children. Don’t be fooled. There is no better way.