Looks like cloying nanny-stater Mike Bloomberg isn’t content with inserting himself into issues outside of New York City. Now he’s annoying the Mexicans.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s name has been drawn into the debate over a proposed tax on soft drinks to fund weight-control efforts in Mexico, which now has higher obesity rates than the U.S.
President Enrique Pena Nieto’s proposal to raise $950 million from the 1-peso-per-liter soda tax has drawn the beverage industry’s wrath in the country with the world’s highest yearly soda consumption; the average Mexican consumes 43 gallons of soft drinks annually.
One peso is equal to about 8 U.S. cents.
The government wants to use tax income to install water drinking fountains in schools, most of which don’t have them, but soft drink bottlers, retailers and sugar growers have bought full-page ads and broadcast media spots opposing the measure.
Some ads target Bloomberg, who unsuccessfully backed a state tax on soft drinks in New York, then a ban on large sodas in New York City. Bloomberg’s charity has contributed to Mexican pro-tax groups.
“No al Impuesto Bloomberg” (“No to the Bloomberg Tax”) read the large type of several ads published in Mexico in recent days.
“Bloomberg … has the right to be crazy, but he doesn’t have the right to come here and impose his craziness on us,” said Cuauhtemoc Rivera, leader of Mexico’s National Association of Small Stores, a little-known business chamber that bought full-page ads in Mexico’s main newspapers for several days running.
Rivera acknowledges that big soft drink bottlers and sugar growers have contributed to the anti-tax ad campaigns. “Between us all, we are financing this campaign,” Rivera said.
Bloomberg Philanthropies says it has donated $10 million in an effort with “top research and advocacy organizations” to support goals such as “raising taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages.” But Bloomberg’s group wouldn’t say how much, if any, of the money went for ads in Mexico.
He’ll soon be out of office with plenty of free time on his hands to mind your business.