FARMINGTON — After receiving approval Thursday from the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee, a proposal to enact an additional sales tax on junk food is heading to the Navajo Nation Council.
The legislation, which is sponsored by delegate Danny Simpson, proposes to enact a 2 percent sales tax on sweetened beverages, chips, candy, cookies and pastries bought on the Navajo Nation.
Revenue generated by the proposed sales tax would be used to build wellness centers, parks, basketball courts, trails, gardens, picnic grounds and swimming pools, as well as sponsor health education classes.
Proponents say it would help reduce diabetes and would encourage people to buy healthy foods.
Opponents say the increase would not have any effect and would push consumers to purchase junk food in stores off the reservation.
This year, the sales tax on the Navajo Nation increased from 4 percent to 5 percent.
The committee added a sunset clause to have the junk food sales tax expire at the end of 2018, unless the council extends the date.
Simpson is also sponsoring legislation to remove the sales tax on fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, water, nuts, seeds and nut butters, but the committee lost quorum before the bill could be considered.Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nsmithdt on Twitter.