Blocked from carrying out his obesity-busting agenda of making large sodas more expensive in his home town, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pouring millions of dollars into a campaign to tax sugary sodas — in Mexico.
New York City’s mayor has become the face of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s proposal to add a one peso (eight U.S. cents) tax per liter of soda, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Opponents deride it before nationalist audiences as “the Bloomberg tax,” asking in ads why Bloomberg’s own city has rejected the idea he wants to foist on Mexico.
“You are the representatives of Mexico’s sovereignty,” one ad narrator intoned. “Are you going to allow the creation of a tax promoted from abroad?”
Bloomberg Philanthropies, the mayor’s umbrella charitable organization, has donated $10 million over the past two years toward bringing down obesity levels in Mexico under a three-year program. They claim that more than 70 percent of adults and 34 percent of children are overweight or obese.
The New York state legislature declined in 2010 to approve a penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, and in 2011, the Obama administration rejected a request to bar the city’s food-stamp recipients from using their benefits to buy soda and other sugary drinks.