Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Soda Tax Opponents Rally Outside City Hall

Opponents of Mayor Nutter's proposed soda tax rallied outside City Hall this afternoon, saying the tax would cost the city jobs.

Soda Tax Opponents Rally Outside City Hall

Frank Berthcsi , a Coca-Cola forklift operator, protested outside City Hall today. Teamsters drove their soda trucks in circles around City Hall during the rally. ( Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer )
Frank Berthcsi , a Coca-Cola forklift operator, protested outside City Hall today. Teamsters drove their soda trucks in circles around City Hall during the rally. ( Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer )

Opponents of Mayor Nutter's proposed soda tax rallied outside City Hall this afternoon, saying the tax would cost the city jobs.

About 200 people attended the rally, mostly teamsters who work for Coca Cola or Pepsi. It was organized by a coaltion that includes the teamsters and the American Beverage Association. The Beverage Association has a team of paid lobbyists and media consultants in place locally to help defeat the tax proposal.

Nutter -- who is trying to fill a projected $150 million budget deficit -- has proposed a soda tax that would add 2 cents per ounce to the price of soda. It would be charged to merchants as part of their business tax. Nutter has said the soda tax would raise revenues and help fight obesity. But the opponents said it would hurt merchants and those employed to bottle or deliver beverages.

"We're gathered today, to say in a unified voice: no!," said Danny Grace, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 830.

More coverage
 
Councilman sours on sweet drinks tax
Video: Soda Tax protest at City Hall

Councilmen Brian O'Neill and Frank Rizzo both appeared at the rally. "It is a bad idea and should be stopped in it's tracks," O'Neill said.

The crowd also heard from one concerned merchant. Frank Maimone owns Rustica, a pizza restaurant in Northern Liberties. He said the tax would add $20,000 to his business tax bill, based on his sales of soda last year. That would force him to lay off an employee, Maimone said. And he said he would spread the added tax over all his products, not just soda.

"In the end you're paying more for what you shouldn't have to pay," Maimone said.

 

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
 Follow Chris on Twitter

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
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

PhillyClout Team
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected