Rizzo sours on sweet drinks tax

Republican Councilman Frank Rizzo today lent his voice to opponents of the proposed sweetened beverage tax, saying it wasn’t fair to single out workers in a single industry. “You know what I’m for? I’m for running this place better,” he told a rally of several hundred beverage workers outside City Hall, just across the street from a statue of his father, the former mayor.


Rizzo, an at-large councilman, said finding efficiencies in government, including cutting jobs, was preferable. "We've really got to get tough now and downsize this government to the proper size," said Rizzo. (City Council has not offered to cut its own budget.)


The Teamsters, who say that about 2,000 of their 4,000 area members haul soda and other sweetened beverages, organized the noon rally. “We’re here today to send my to the mayor that he’s not going mess with anyone in soda or anyone else in the city with this regressive tax,” said Danny Grace, Secretary-Treasurer and business manager of Teamsters Local Union 830.


Mayor Michael Nutter has proposed a tax of 2 cents an ounce on beverages sweetened with sugar to help fill a $150 million budget gap.


Republican Councilman Brian O’Neill, whose 10th Council District includes the city’s Pepsi bottling plant, also rallied the crowd. He called the proposed tax “a bad idea that should be stopped in its tracks,” he said. “We’re going to lose jobs. It’s as simple as that.”

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