Letters: Reducing proposed soda tax will harm city

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The proposal by City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (left) to reduce Mayor Kenney's sugary-beverage tax would drastically cut funds for prekindergarten.

ISSUE | SODA TAX

Reducing the levy would harm the city

I urge City Council President Darrell L. Clarke to support Mayor Kenney's proposed 3-cents-an-ounce tax on sugary beverages instead of cutting it to 1 cent an ounce or less ("Clarke floats smaller drink tax," Thursday). This tax would improve the health of thousands of Philadelphians. It would help, not harm, those being singled out as likely to be hurt by this tax.

Many people do not understand the harmful effects of sugar, including weight gain and diabetes. There is an epidemic of obesity and diabetes in Philadelphia. People who are significantly overweight have a poorer quality of life, shorter life expectancy, and more illness.

We all have needs and wants. Drinking beverages containing sugar is a want, not a need.

The soda tax would help educate our kids while improving citizens' health. The Council president should do the right thing and support the 3-cents-an-ounce soda tax.

|Dr. George L. Spaeth, Philadelphia

One cent, half a cent - why bother?

A 3-cents-an-ounce tax on sugary beverages is good; a half-cent to 1-cent tax is worse than nothing.

A 3-cents-an-ounce tax would produce enough of a price shock to dissuade many consumers from sugary-drink purchases that buy them debilitating obesity and diabetes - a public-health menace in Philly. However, a penny-or-less tax would be more easily absorbed and sugary-drink guzzling wouldn't slow or stop.

Council President Darrell L. Clarke's alternative to Mayor Kenney's proposal is a sellout - a political dance around public health and taxes. Clarke likely knows that any income derived from the tax wouldn't be worth the animus of the beverage industry or consumers.

|Don DeMarco, Philadelphia, donald.demarco@verizon.net

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