Nutter again pushing sugary drink tax to raise school cash

Coca-Cola workers and others leave after council voted against Mayor Michael Nutter's controversial soda tax, effectively killing the bill last May. Nutter wants to resurrect the tax, given the projected budget shortfall of Philadelphia schools. (Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer)

Mayor Nutter appears to be backing a plan to raise new revenue for Philadelphia’s public schools by increasing the price of parking meters, hiking property taxes and trying for a second time to launch a new sweet drinks tax, which he failed to do last year.

The mayor discussed these three options during a leadership meeting this morning with City Council. It seems he is pushing some combination of all three, although details are still murky.

“The time for this is right now. Parents and children need to know as the school year is ending what the next school year is going to look like,” Nutter said outside of Council President Anna C. Verna’s office.


How would you raise the money for the School District?

The mayor said he will meet with other Council members today, with the goal of reaching some consensus on legislation that could be introduced tomorrow morning.

He may have his work cut out for him. "I didn't see anybody smiling in that room," said Republican Minority Whip Frank Rizzo after the meeting.

Republican Minority Leader Brian J. O'Neill said he would not support any new or higher taxes right now. "I don't have a solution," he said, "but people are overtaxed."

Backing the mayor’s proposal are a dozen or so education and community advocates with whom he met earlier today. They included NAACP Philadelphia branch President J. Wyatt Mondesire, Debra Weiner of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, and parent group representative Sylvia Simms.

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