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Can a Tax on Sugary Drinks Save the Finances of a Local City? [UPDATED]

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For the city of El Monte in the San Gabriel Valley, putting a tax on sugary drinks like sodas could mean up to $7 million in revenue.

"El Monte officials said they are not at the edge of bankruptcy but need the sugary drinks tax revenue as a protection against insolvency down the road," reports the Los Angeles Times.

It might not be bankruptcy, but a "fiscal emergency" could be declared in El Monte by the city council Tuesday, and that scenario could open the door for the tax on sugary beverages, which would go to the voters on the November ballot.

The tax proposed is one cent per ounce on drinks that are sugar-sweetened.

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El Monte is facing a sharp decrease in sales tax revenue in their city, along with a decline in population, both of which are among the contributing factors for their economic struggles.

Supporters of the tax on sugary drinks liken it to a cigarette tax, and see that there could also be increased health benefits for the residents of El Monte.

UPDATE WEDS. 7/25: The El Monte City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to put the "sugary drinks" tax on the November ballot in the hopes it will pass and bring in up to $7 million in revenue for the financially struggling city, according to City News Service.

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.

El Monte's mayor, Andre Quintero, echoed the beliefs of some proponents of the tax, who say the measure would not only bring money to the city but also address the health issues in the community, like Type II diabetes. "We're looking at the possibility of addressing two issues here,'' said Quintero.