It is with much satisfaction that I thank the city of Santa Fe working class voters for soundly defeating the proposed sugar tax on beverages (“Soda tax fizzles,” May 3). There was always something irreconcilable about even proposing to fund a program based on money raised by an activity one claims to want to stamp out.
Either you end up with a revenue source that isn’t sustainable, or you end up with a program that relies on the continuation of an activity you claim to despise in order to work. Proponents of such a tax adopted an incoherent, self-contradictory and unfair position. Government overreach and arbitrary social engineering was rejected — for now.
Lest you think the scourge of government overreach is done in Santa Fe, one only need listen to the mayor and supporters of this boondoggle after the election. They ask: “What are you going to do to make these Pre-K slots a reality?” Or they ask: “You didn’t like our idea, so what’s your idea?” Both questions presuppose that the voters of Santa Fe are obligated to do anything. We are not.
The overall state of education in Santa Fe is marginal from K-12. What logic does it make to double down on subpar education? It’s like washing the floor with a dirty mop — illogical. Pre-K can’t make a difference to our children if it’s not quality pre-K.
Even then, studies are mixed on the efficacy of pre-K in creating sustainable achievement of children who enroll. In short, what we know about the value of pre-K to students and communities, at this point, is insufficient to justify an expansion of pre-K, particularly on the backs of middle- and low-income Santa Feans. The disparity in how each city district voted was largely along economic lines. The haves voted for it and the have lesses voted no. If a GoFundMe site was set up to fund pre-K in Santa Fe, however, how many economic “haves” would actually donate?
But alas, Santa Feans, hold on to your wallets because the social engineering ideology of the mayor and City Council is not going anywhere, even if the city does not pay for pre-K. The natural tendency of politicos is to spend. Add to this the social justice bent of Santa Fe’s governing body and the tendency will be to spend on social engineering, which could siphon funds away from things like pay for city employees, potholes, infrastructure, etc. And when it’s gone, the call for assorted taxes on things the enlightened few determine to be appropriate will begin again.
Progressives in Santa Fe are a stubborn bunch. They believe that the average rank and file citizen should be made to care about their causes and that relying on government to decide what’s best for them is assumed to be a public good and a given. May more citizens come to the realization that this progressive principle is not a given, but a burden that requires proof, not platitudes.
R.J. Chavez is a resident of Santa Fe.