PHILADELPHIA March 1, 2015 (AP) — Philadelphia’s mayor wants to tax sugary drinks to help fund his universal pre-K plan, among other initiatives.
Mayor Jim Kenney tells The Philadelphia Inquirer he believes the 3-cents-per-ounce tax could bring in $400 million over five years. He says the money could fund a green jobs plan and repay a bond for rebuilding parks and recreations centers. Former Mayor Michael Nutter proposed a 2-cents-per-ounce tax during his administration. Kenney, a city councilman at the time, opposed the idea, and the tax never made it to a council vote.
The tax would be levied on distributors, and soda lobbyists would likely fight it. Kenney will announce more details Thursday. The newspaper says only Berkeley, California, has enacted a soda tax, at 1 cent per ounce. Kenney hopes to add 10,000 pre-K seats by 2020.