Baldwin Park Mayor, Manuel Lozano, is considering the adoption of a measure similar to the one applied in the city of El Monte, that would ask residents to approve a tax on soft drinks as a form of relief toward the budget deficit that the city is facing.
"This would be beneficial for the City, for its residents and it is about time for someone to pick up the tab for having a lot of obesity and health issues," said Lozano in an interview with Patch.
"We were supposed to put it before El Monte, I spoke to the Mayor [Andre Quintero] and I told him 'We are just going to be behind you,'" he added.
The City of El Monte passed a similar measure last week, and it will appear in November's ballot. If approved by voters, it would implement an additional $.01-per-ounce tax on soft drinks sold in that city.
The measure, applied to sodas and other sweet drinks, could generate a revenue of $3.5 to $7 million for El Monte, which currently faces a budget deficit of $1.1 million.
Baldwin Park also faces a and along with , it has also contemplated the option of dismantling its local police to contract with the Sheriff Department.
"We need to close a gap and we do not want to lose our Police Department or any other public servant, that's why we need to do something similar to El Monte," explained Lozano.
Vice Mayor Susan Rubio said that she will wait for the proposal to be brought to discussion and then "there will be plenty to say." "When we sit down to discuss this, then we will look at all our options."
Because there is a time limit for the city to include a measure to be in the November elections, the Mayor is considering calling for an emergency meeting this week to declare a fiscal emergency and consider the proposal.
"Absolutely, we can do it next [this] week and we are in a fiscal emergency," Lozano added.
The City of Baldwin Park would be the third in California to implement a tax on soft drinks.
Along with El Monte, the city of Richmond in Northern California also has asked that voters approve the tax.
This possible tax in El Monte has raised criticism from businesses and praise from other groups, according to a story published in the SGV Tribune.
A recent study from Columbia University in New York showed that the increase of taxes on these kinds of beverages could reduce consumption and therefore diabetes and obesity rates.
Baldwin Park and El Monte , with more than half its population being considered overweight.
Check the complete interview with the Mayor in the audio attached.