Navajo Nation Council Approves “Junk” Food Tax
In a 10-4 vote, the Navajo Nation Council has approved a tax on “junk” foods
sold on the largest reservation in the United States. If President Ben Shelly
signs the measure into law, the Healthy Dine Nation Act of 2014 would apply
to items like cookies, chips and soft drinks, and the revenue generated would
be directed to a fund supporting farmers markets, the planting of vegetable
gardens, purchase of exercise equipment, and other health-focused projects.
Shelly evidently vetoed similar legislation earlier in 2014, reportedly saying that he supported the goals of the tax initiative but questioned its implementation.
Proponents of the tax reportedly cite the high rates of diabetes
among American Indians and Alaska Natives—the highest among U.S. racial
and ethnic groups—as the main reason to pass the legislation. See Associated
Press, November 15, 2014.