Friday, February 12, 2010

Taxing Tortillas


Religious leaders and others who are against the current proposal to tax some food (the current version of Senate Bill 10) just held a rally in the Rotunda to draw attention to the bill and to give away thousands of white flour tortillas -- which would be subject to gross receipts tax under the bill.

The New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, St. Joseph Community Health and the New Mexico Conference of Churches put together the rally.

The proposal, which is still being considered by the Senate Finance Committee, would reinstate gross receipts taxes on the sale of foods not allowed under the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) supplemental nutrition program.

The Rev. Holly Beaumont, legislative advocate for the Conference of Churches, told me that the WIC program provides nutrition classes and free child care for those on the program. "Is the state going to pay for that?" she asked rhetorically.

Among the food that would be taxed under the bill is white bread, spaghetti, canned soup, butter, honey, yogurt and nuts.

Allen Sanchez, director of the bishops’ organization, said yesterday he was bringing 12,000 tortillas for the event.

Many expect the food tax provision to be lifted from the bill before it gets out of the Senate Finance Committee. Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque said there's no way the House would pass a food tax. She's probably right.