A measure to add a one cent per ounce tax to sugary drinks sold in neighboring El Monte will go before voters in November.
The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to place the proposed tax on the ballot. The tax, which would apply to sodas and other sugary drinks, could raise an estimated $3.5 million to $7 million to help replace some of the revenue lost to state budget cutbacks, according to city officials.
Noting that the city is seeking "nontraditional funding sources'' in the midst of a sluggish economy, a city statement says the tax "may also help battle high tendencies for Type2 diabetes among local residents.''
The measure would give the city the option of imposing a business license fee on wholesalers of sugary drinks who sell to local retailers and would include a companion measure to give voters some say in how the funds are spent.
"We're looking at the possibility of addressing two issues here,'' said El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero.
"Our residents are disproportionately feeling the impacts of drinking soda and juices that are causing them to have heart attacks, strokes and contract Type2 Diabetes. This is a significant issue for our community and we need to start driving that discussion.
At the same time, the lagging economy is creating a budget deficit that could negatively impact, among other things our recreation programs, which contribute to a healthy community.''
El Monte faced a $1.1 million deficit in its $50.5 million general fund budget, forcing staff cuts and employee benefit reductions. The city is also looking at further reductions of its workforce on the order of 6.5 percent.