Navajo lawmakers to increase sales tax on junk food

WINDOW ROCK, AZ - Purchasing junk food on the Navajo Nation could cost more money.

The Tribal Council approved legislation this week to impose an additional 2 percent sales tax on sweetened drinks, and snacks high in salt and fat. That includes chips, candy and pastries.

The legislation now goes to tribal President Ben Shelly for consideration.

The 2 percent tax would be added on to the tribe's current 5 percent sales tax. Navajo communities could use the revenue for wellness centers, community parks, walking trails and picnic grounds.

Opponents of the bill say it will burden consumers. The reservation extends into Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

The tax is set to expire at the end of 2018.

A separate bill approved by tribal lawmakers eliminates sales tax on fresh fruits and fresh vegetables.

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