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Nutter Offers Council A Menu Of Tax Hikes: Parking, Property, And/Or Sodas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is proposing a tax on soda and other sugary drinks as he and City Council continue trying to help bail out the cash-starved Philadelphia school district.

On Thursday, Nutter sent City Council a revival of his soda tax idea that was soundly rejected by the lawmakers last year. This time he proposes two-cents per ounce, to bring in an estimated $80 million a year.

Nutter is also expected to raise rates at parking meters and kiosks to raise an additional $6 million. Council approval of that is not needed.

Also being discussed as part of the School District bailout is a hike in property taxes similar to last year’s nearly 10-percent hike (see related story), which the administration says could bring in $95 million.

Councilman Darrell Clarke is introducing a measure calling for a smaller increase, with provisions to make the school district accountable for how the money is spent.

Council members, by and large, say they are extremely hesitant to agree to another property tax hike, and many also say they are skeptical of enacting a soda tax. The beverage industry successfully lobbied against the idea last year.

Council members like Marian Tasco don’t want to single out one industry.

“After we went through the fiasco last year on the sugar tax, I looked at it,” Councilwoman Tasco told KYW Newsradio. “As I eat an Oreo, I said, there’s sugar here. Much more sugar than in the soda.”

Council President Anna Verna says hearings were being scheduled for Friday, June 10th, on both the soda and property tax proposals.

“There is absolutely no appetite — and I only speak for myself — for raising property taxes by 10 percent. So the only thing that is left is the soda tax,” she said.

On Thursday morning, Mayor Nutter focused on his effort to help the school district close its budget gap as he accepted the “Citizen of the Year” award from the Red Cross.

Nutter told the business and community leaders attending the award breakfast that working schools are essential to the economic health of the city and, thus, it becomes a city responsibility to make sure they’re funded.

“I run the city. I don’t run the schools, but they’re my children — they’re my children,” the mayor said.

Nutter said later that the measures he’s suggested are not all necessary, but are meant to give City Council a range of options:

“So, for instance, a combination of the sugar-sweetened beverage and additional parking revenues would actually cover what we need without any real estate tax increase,” Nutter explained.

The mayor says he hopes there will be a serious discussion about which measures to adopt.

So, if you had to choose just one of the proposed options, which would it be? When asked, most people gave KYW Newsradio one of two answers: soda, and definitely not soda.

Soda tax proponents, such as Jonathan Ramirez, pointed out that it would accomplish more than just raising revenue: “Tax on the soda, because you shouldn’t be drinking soda. Start eating right.”

So while a soda tax would be good for us, Ramirez pointed out a real estate tax increase could be bad.

“Not the real estate. For me, increasing the soda’s not going to hurt a lot, but real estate could hurt a lot, especially with people buying the houses and this economy still not that good,” he said.

The anti-soda-tax contingent confessed to drinking a lot of it, including Paul.

“As long as it’s not soda, I’ll be happy,” Paul said, as he sipped a diet soda.

But there was also the predictable answer: “None of them, really.”

And then, the off-the-wall: “I think he should raise the sales tax to 20 percent,” one person said.

When told that would make buying goods in Philadelphia really expensive, he said, “It’s already expensive.”

Reported by Mike Dunn and Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • Sean Delevan

    Let’s not look at pension reform, trimming waste, firing bad teachers, and eliminating wasteful programs.

    That would be silly..

    The solution?

    Create a new tax and ignore the real problem.

    And how long is that going to last before they are out of money again?

    Where is all the lottery money going?

  • smokehouse56

    Urban Philly. Laughing my arse off from the wilderness of Pennsylvania, 200 miles north of this cesspool. We get our “high” from watching wildlife, fishing, sight seeing, boating, hunting, photography, gardening. Not crack on Broad Street and ruled by a black mayor by the name of Nutter? Is that correct? Nutter? Oh you poor slobs.

  • Rico Suave

    More taxes? Raise the taxes, money-earners will leave the city. How about breaking the Union stranglehold in the city? How many people are getting free health insurance on the backs of the city? Does the city get a full days work out of each employee? Look at any city thats broke…Detroit comes to mind…run by Dems, full of people that think they’re entitled to not work and get freebies…your tax base is shrinking….theyre moving to the burbs! Wake up!

  • CatoTheElder

    Detroit without automobiles.

  • cheesedog

    I left there in 1991 and now live in Florida. Hope it all works out, take care, bye.

  • Daniel Morgan

    What do Obama and Nutter have in common? They both hate America and want to destroy it by taxing out of existence the people the who work and pay taxes. Also, they want to have everyone dependent on the government so that they have more power.

  • Mune Shadowe

    They tried this in Ohio and guess how that went? More deeper in debt than ever.
    They always go on a proposed budget and they end up spending it before it comes and walla! The money is gone!

  • Daniel Morgan

    Sure, why not? Let the mayor could raise taxes as much as he wants so that the crooked politicians have more money to squander on their bloated, inefficient bureaucracy, unfair and burdensome regulations and mandates and a politically correct agenda of social engineering. Doesn’t matter anyways as Philadelphia and other cities like it are dying because of idiot politicians like this who are bound and determined to destroy those that produce. Philadelphia will be like Detroit in a few more years.

    • The Bruce

      “Philadelphia will be like Detroit in a few more years.”

      It already is, minus the auto industry.


    Starting Jan 1, 2012 A city police officer with more than 5 years of service is able to reside outside the city. Raise those taxes and pump millions into ackermans fat a$$ ?? you”ll see possibly 1000, 2000 maybe more sale signs go up shortly…

  • DeJordy

    What is being asked of the teachers and other unions? Are they paying a fair share for health insurance and pensions? As long as the city is run for them, the city will choke.

  • Hombre

    Tax tortillas and beans, then we’ll be getting SOMETHING from the illegals

  • Rick Libertarianski

    Tax condoms, soap, tp, and gum.

    • frank

      Taxing condoms is not the answer.The idiots in Philly do not use them. Just look at all the illegitimate thugs running around.

  • Linkoln

    Why are they worried about the budget? Just charge it to the Fed, and the Obama, and borrow from China! Just keep doing that until everything works properly and we are magically free of problems. That’s what the Fed does.

  • Daniel Anderson

    Taxes a solution for all problems bet it dosen.t work.

    • jt

      Are you seriously expecting a recovery ?

  • raybojabo

    When I was in school our FFA (Future Farmers of Amrica) chapter owned the soda and snack machines in the school. We used them to raise revenue for our school projects: greenhouses, fish farm, park benches, dugouts, sidewalks, etc. All great projects for the students to participate in and learn useful skills. Thank God we didn’t have mob bosses running our town and stealing the money to line their pockets and ripping people off at a quarter per soda for a so-called tax.

  • Common Sense

    After reading this article I surmise oe thing: Johnathan Ramirez is a moron. Great mentality, the soda tax wont hurt him a lot but how about people working in the soda and beverage industry? You don’t want a tax increase but who’s going to povide for the families when layoffs begin due to the loss of soda revenue? As long as it doesn’t impact Johnathan, who cares? The bottom line s that the Philadelphia School District needs to live within their means. Cut out some of the top heavy salaries in administration. Make Queen Arlne accountable for the money. Stop wasting the money on nonsense like Mc Books that get stolen anyway. Nutter needs to be a one term mayor. Get someone in there that won’t give in the these idiots in the school district. Cut them off at the knees instead of continuing to placate these bureaucrats.

    • Regulas

      The story conveniently fails to report the nut, Nutter’s move to bail teacher unions out so I am assuming he is a Demorat.

  • Daniele

    There should not be any new taxes of any kind for the school system. They have and get enough money already. If you can’t make it on what you have, then make cuts. Jersey has great schools and the kids do well. Does everyone realize that they only have 1/2 DAY KINDERGARTEN as do other counties in Pennsylvania. If a parent needs full day care, then it is your responsibility to provide for it … not anyone else. Pay for day care. Also, why is is that kids today as well as their parents have these great cell phones with texting, data, etc. and yet you cry you can’t afford bus fare for your child. Again, your problem. If you can afford a cell phone plan, you can afford bus fare. Do without something … cable, etc. These items are not necessities. The Government has been spoon feeding too many people and it has to stop. Cuts need to be made and that is that!!! People need to realize what is a need and what is a want and guess what … sometimes you can’t have what you want. I have two children and they are my responsibility. It is my job to provide for them. I brought them into this world. I make them breakfast, lunch, and feed them dinner. Wake up people, if we don’t stop this here and now and voice our opinions and get City Council to vote down everything, a lot more people are going to be leaving the City as well as we might end up having to dress kids next!

  • BS!


  • MAD!

    How about we do away with free breakfast and lunches in the schools. How much would that save? The kids that benefit from this program are the same kids who’s parents receive food stamps and or welfare. I worked in the supermarkets growing up and saw first hand what these parents would buy with their stamps. Lobster, Crab Legs and shrimp but yet they are the first to cry that they can’t afford clothes for their kids. Is City Council that Naive Talk about a failed system. Why should I as a tax payer have to pay twice for these families. I come from a family of 6 that was raised by a single mother that worked two jobs and still struggled to get by because she could not qualify for these programs. Now days people lie about where they live inn order to qualify for these services. Do we not have a system of checks and balances in place for stuff like this. Mr. Mayor here’s a suggetion for you. Why don’t you try to get the big corporations in the city to sponor these free meals in the schools. Not only would it save money towards the school district budget but I’m sure they could use a tax write off. I’m tired off every time the city or schools need money that we as taxpayers are the answer. Are there not enough home foreclosure in the city yet, you need to raise property taxes again. My taxes were raised over $200 this year based on home values that were through the roof, now the value of homes have decreased but yet you want me to pay more. My mortgage i’m sure is already more than the value of my house with the recent drop in values. I’m sick of being the bail out for my government’s inability to manage a budget and programs.

  • Ed

    Tax high fructose corn syrup, not sugar.

    • Frank

      Duh? What do you think fructose is exactly?

      I am surrounded by mental midgets….

      • Dat_Truth_Hurts

        HFCS is not fructose but a blend. He meant sugar as in sucrose, i.e. table sugar. Fructose is the sugar in fruit. HFCS is a man made sweetener from corn to prop up agro business. It is also a big contributor as to why many Americans are fat. High Fructose Corn Syrup does not metabolize like normal table sugar.

        So, taxing HFCS would be good because then soda would contain regular sugar like it used to before HFCS became so cheap (due to subsidies).

        If we really want to solve obesity once and for all, we should tax the hell out of grains and corn. But this is beyond the scope of the article and I’m just a ‘mental midget’.

  • Spanky

    Let’s see, 2 cents an ounce, a $600 million dollar school district deficit, those poor kids will have to drink a lot of soda to cover the shortfall. Maybe we should tax other goods as well. People like to be punished, how about we tax gas?

    • SMM

      Tax is already included in the price paid at the pump smarty.

      • Wiseguy


      • Wiseguy


  • Francis Graff

    I am strongly considering a run for Mayor as an Independent. I will reduce the names in the City’s dept. directory by 50% within my first year and six month’s. This will be done by establishing a strict performance evaluation using management by objectives. I don’t expect a Union problem, since State AFSCME had no problem with the method, and City Locals will agree. I will ask all elected officials to succomb to a randon drug and alcohol testing, and I will be the first to submit. Those who test positive, will be asked to resign. If truck driver’s must do it, why shouldn’t the executive and judicial elected officials do it to. After all, they must make and judge the very laws we must adhere to. I will fire all those who are not under the umbrella of Civil Service/Union protection. There will be no hiring except for essential positions, such as fire, police, sanitation and streets workers. These are the people services you pay for, and you will get them. No more untreated small streets in snow storms, this was my expertise. As head of Pendot with 30 years of experience and a 25 million dollar budget, I never, not even in the blizzard of 96, nor the ice storms of 92/93, go over budget. And I have Gov. Ridge to prove it. I supported Bob Casey Jr for Governor and he lost to Ed Rendell, who I no longer see fit to decide anything. He lied to us about his marriage and he must answer up for the new (sudden) woman in his life? I will not ask any Ward Leader fron either party for their support, but will accept it, coming from them. This is a one way street. Forget about Brady and Meehan and the other’s supposedly leading the town, their plans don’t work anymore. Everything they endorse becomes a thirst for more for them, and we are in the fire. White’s are leaving the City in groves, Spanish and African Americans and Asians, are the majority now, but I will serve all ethnic groups equally, as I did at Panndot. I only have one more hurdle to jump, and it will be soon. Look for me, it’s been ten years now since I retired, and my beach chair is not doing what I thought anymore.

    • Marbran

      Were you referring to Pendot, Panndot, or PennDOT…you know, that department you claimed to head for 30 years? And people or animals leave an area in ‘droves’ not ‘groves,’ although if they are moving far out of the city they’re likely to see many more of the latter.

  • Susan Ludwig

    “Councilman Darrell Clarke today is introducing a measure calling for a smaller increase, with provisions to make the school district accountable for how the money is spent.” Here’s a thought how about making them accountable as to why this amount is needed.. to get the city residents in an uproar over taxing soda, parking or what ever.. prove that you need the money.. I am fed up with being one of the few tax payers left in this city ( and believe me the tax base is getting smaller) that have to tighten and re tighten my belt because of miss managment of moneys across the WHOLE city…I will not be getting bail out and I now feel that no one should get a bail out.. do with what you have and learn to manage yourselves better…

  • Daniel

    I understand the city needs to raise funds, but I think the a per ounce tax especially 2 cents an ounce is a bit much. As an on again off again resident of Philly and one who has lived in DC I think the way DC does it for restaurant food would be the better approach, it is a special sales tax, it amounts to 10% instead of the regular 6 percent for everything else. If you go with a 2cents per ounce tax, people with cars are going to end up buying their groceries in the suburbs, the same way when they want a $1000 TV they drive down to Wilimington.

    The people in the city who do not have cars will be the only ones paying for the tax, the rest will just cross the Walt Whitman, head to the Walmart on Black Horse Pike, then drive a mile up the road for the cheaper Jersey gas at Wawa to make it a worthwhile trip.

  • Linda D Bryant

    The Nutman is at it again. This proposed “Soda Tax” was shot down in defeat
    last year. Here we go again!!!

    Nutter and all of City Counsel can forfeit their salaries for the next four years.
    That would generate some nice $$$ instead of wanting to tax folks who drink soft-drinks. What’s next, taxing JUNK FOOD!!!!

    • Spanky

      Linda – you are a nut for calling Mr. Peanut a nutman. They mayor has class, show some respect.

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