Friday, November 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Anti-soda forces are preparing for the possibility of another battle

After intense lobbying by the soda industry four months ago, City Council opted to do a temporary 3.85 percent property tax increase over Mayor Nutter's preferred tax on sugary drinks - to raise more money for schools.

Anti-soda forces are preparing for the possibility of another battle

After intense lobbying by the soda industry four months ago, City Council opted to do a temporary 3.85 percent property tax increase over Mayor Nutter’s preferred tax on sugary drinks – to raise more money for schools.

And while the soda-tax may be dead –for now –the anti-soda forces are still hard at work taking their campaign to the streets gearing-up for yet another attempt –as Nutter is expected to reintroduce the tax again possibly in time for the next budget cycle.

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald disagreed.

“There are no plans at this time,” McDonald said. “We’re so far away from a budget.”

Earlier this week a Mayfair resident found a door-hanger outside of his home which read “The Mayor wants you to pay more for many of your favorite beverages. Any proposed new beverage taxes will increase your grocery bills. Hard working Philadelphia families can’t afford to pay anymore taxes. Tell the City Council to say NO to higher beverage taxes.”

One Philadelphian complained to Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown’s office that he had to scrape the fliers off of his car windshield. He wanted to know who he could hold responsible for the litter and possible damage to his car.

The fliers, a message from the Philly Jobs, Not Taxes coalition, paid for by the American Beverage Association is a part of a citywide effort to educate the public said coalition spokesman Larry Ceisler, adding that there are even fliers in local grocery stores.

"Since we know the Mayor is so intent on taxing the industry…the first time it was obesity, then education and then revenue… Our coalition has to keep up our defenses,” Ceisler said.  “It’s really a public policy battle that has never stopped.”

Nutter really wanted the 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, after failing to get it through Council last year, when it was pegged as an anti-obesity effort.

“I don’t think the Mayor has ever stopped. I don’t think the coalition can stop either,” Ceisler said.

Check out the door-hanger here.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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