The American Beverage Association spent more than $10.6 million trying to fight off Mayor Kenney's tax on sweetened drinks, more than four times the amount spent by those supporting the tax, newly released lobbying reports show.
The disclosures, filed with the Philadelphia Board of Ethics, also shed light on who funded the pro-tax effort. The list of two dozen backers includes two Philadelphia law firms, the regional Carpenters union, and the mayor's own political committee.
Those supporting the tax spent about $2.5 million, according to the disclosure reports.
The levy, which the city plans to start collecting Jan. 1, will hit thousands of products - essentially anything bottled, canned, or from a fountain with either sugar or artificial sweetener added, with a few exceptions.
It is expected to raise about $91 million annually, to be spent on expanding prekindergarten programs in the city; creating community schools; improving parks, recreation centers, and libraries; and funding other city programs and employee benefits.
The fight over the controversial tax gripped the city for months, and a vast majority of the money spent on both sides was poured into communication efforts including radio, television, and print advertising.
The $10.6 million spent by the beverage association, according to its financial report, came primarily from three backers: Dr Pepper Snapple Group, PepsiCo, and the Coca-Cola Co.
Coca-Cola spent an additional $68,000 on its own, according to its report.
Anthony Campisi, a spokesman for the No Philly Grocery Tax Coalition, which was funded by the beverage association, said in a statement that the group's efforts ensured the public "learned the truth about the regressive and discriminatory tax proposal."
"Armed with the facts, their opposition to the tax rose significantly," Campisi said, citing poling done by the coalition that showed nearly 60 percent of Philadelphians being against the tax.
According to its lobbying report, the American Heart Association spent about $330,000 on an email campaign, telephone bank, and advertising in support of the tax.
But the bulk of the pro-tax effort - $2.2 million - came from Philadelphians for a Fair Future, a nonprofit created for that purpose. The group disclosed its two largest financial backers early on: former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who gave about $1.6 million, and Texas billionaires John and Laura Arnold, who gave $400,000.
The other contributions, disclosed in the new reports, include $50,000 from the American Federation of Teachers; $50,000 from Kenney's political committee; $5,000 from law firm Dilworth Paxson L.L.P.; $5,000 from gay-rights activist Mel Heifetz; and $250 from Allison Fumo Bassman, daughter of Vincent J. Fumo, the once-powerful state senator who served time in federal prison on corruption charges.
The nonprofit drew some criticism for not disclosing its donors sooner. Spokesman Kevin Feeley said the group was concerned doing so "would open up those individuals to attack."
He said all the donors are being disclosed now - though city law only requires those who gave at least 10 percent of the total to be listed - "in the interest of trying to be as transparent as possible."