The House passed a new fee on pet food Thursday.
Backers say the bill could raise nearly $1.4 million a year to spay and neuter animals when the fee is fully implemented.
But some Republicans argued the measure, House Bill 64, amounts to a tax.
While the $100 fee would fall on pet food distributors for each brand that is marketed in New Mexico, retailers have said this would almost inevitably lead them to raise prices on pet food.
“I feel like we should be calling this a tax,” said Rep. Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas.
However, the bill’s cosponsor, Rep. Carl Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, has pointed to stray animal populations, especially in rural areas, as a sign that some sort of step is needed to expand access to spay and neuter programs.
The House approved the measure 48-19. It heads next to the Senate, where a similar bill is awaiting a vote on the floor.
This article comes from The Santa Fe New Mexican. NMPolitics.net is paying for the rights to publish articles about the 2018 legislative session from the newspaper. Help us cover the cost by making a donation to NMPolitics.net.