Nutter considering tax on sugary drinks

Catherine Lucey has a scoop in today's Daily News: Mayor Nutter is considering a new tax on soda and other sugary drinks for the next city budget. Yesterday, top administration officials briefed City Council about the idea.

Several members who attended the session said that a tax on soda and sugary beverages had been floated only as a preliminary idea. Still, it shows that with another tough budget gap looming, Mayor Nutter and his team are searching for creative ways to boost revenues.

"That's a possibility," said Council President Anna Verna. "I think it's a penny on the ounce or some such thing. They're exploring it."

Why choose this tax to increase right now? The city has limited options to raise revenue.

Hiking property tax seems to be off the table, given that assessments have been frozen until the current system is overhauled. Nutter has long opposed raising the wage and business taxes. And the city last year already temporarily raised the local sales tax.

So smaller revenue enhancements - like a sugary-drinks tax - may be among the city's only options. Because the discussion was so preliminary, it wasn't immediately clear yesterday if such a tax would require state enabling legislation.

Mayor Nutter will give his budget address, announcing how he's decided to deal with the shortfall in revenue, on March 4th.

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