By Jon Baird

BALDWIN PARK ( — Enjoying a can of Coke or a Slurpee in Baldwin Park could soon get more expensive if lawmakers have their way.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports the City Council is looking to neighboring El Monte for inspiration on a proposed tax on sodas and other sugary drinks.

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Lawmakers hope the $.01-per-ounce tax would drum up enough revenue for Baldwin Park to chip away at a $1 million deficit and help to fund pensions and retiree health care benefits.

Last week, the El Monte City Council voted to approve a soda tax initiative for the November ballot – a measure which was modeled after a similar one in the Northern California city of Richmond.

If approved, Baldwin Park would become the second city in the San Gabriel Valley and third city in California to enact such a measure.

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But if the reaction of residents is any indication, the proposal to tax sodas could fizzle out in a hurry at the ballot box.

“I think it’s stupid because everybody drinks soda anyway,” said one man. “I’m against it.”

“I understand the reasoning behind it, but no, I don’t want to have to pay any extra for any of my sodas,” another man said.

A study (PDF) by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy released in June found nearly 47 percent of children and teens in Baldwin Park between the ages of 2 and 17 were obese as of 2010.

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The measure will be discussed at a special meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at City Hall.