Letters: Weighing city soda tax and universal pre-K

ISSUE | SODA TAX AND PRE-K

Consumers always pay the tab

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The tax would be charged to distributors of sugary drinks.

Keep one thing in mind about Mayor Kenney's proposed 3-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks: consumers pay every tax; corporations merely collect them ("Two cola producers fight soda tax plan," Monday). Coca-Cola and Pepsi must pass on the cost of any tax to the consumer or go out of business. Do not be confused by supposed research that shows that not all previous taxes were passed on to consumers. All business expenses are borne by the consumer.

|Patrick Barron, West Chester, patrickbarron@msn.com

Regressive, unfair levy

The article "Two cola producers fight soda tax plan" (Monday) addressed two types of taxes that have nothing in common except the word tax.

The discriminatory tax on sugary beverages being proposed in Philadelphia singles out one set of products, including teas, juice drinks, and sports drinks. For example, the new $2.03 tax on a 2-liter bottle of soda would be more than the cost of the product.

In contrast, income taxes are paid broadly by millions of American families and businesses. America's beverage companies pay a significant and fair share of taxes. On their Pennsylvania businesses alone, the companies collectively pay $1.3 billion in federal and state taxes, not including local taxes.

Unlike income taxes, a new tax that singles out certain products is regressive. This issue is about the unfairness of another new tax on Philadelphians that won't deliver on its promises.

|Kevin Keane, senior vice president, policy and public affairs, American Beverage Association, Washington

Ante up for the children and the city

Mayor Kenney is to be commended for championing fully funded prekindergarten, refurbished libraries, and renovated recreation centers. We need these investments in our children to strengthen our city and improve its quality of life. This is exactly where our focus should be.

To claim that the burden of 36 additional cents for a can of soda outweighs the merit of investing in our children is ludicrous. City Council members should be accountable for the welfare of their constituents, not the funders of their campaigns.

Let's sign petitions, contact our representatives, and make our desires known. Let's get this done.

|Lynda Hummer, Philadelphia

Debatable plan for an essential goal

Kudos to editorial page editor Harold Jackson for analyzing Mayor Kenney's initiative on universal prekindergarten for all of Philadelphia's young children ("Good goal, poor path on pre-K," Sunday). We may not agree with the idea of a sugary-drinks tax to fund preschool education, but we are all agreed that investing in early, quality education will prevent later investments in prisons.

Studies have shown that children in quality child-care centers go to school ready and eager to learn. Gov. Wolf keeps trying to get the legislature to see the wisdom of investing in education. Maybe after the longest budget impasse in Pennsylvania history, my counterparts across the aisle in the state House of Representatives are ready to roll up their sleeves and tackle the difficult subject of raising revenue to fund pre-K and all of our schools.

|Jim Roebuck, state representative, 188th District, minority chairman, Education Committee, Philadelphia, jroebuck@pahouse.net