Education Crisis Sets The Stage For Political Showdown
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is a political showdown on the horizon.
Thursday morning there will be a hearing on funding for public schools and Mayor Michael Nutter believes soda can help secure those funds.
Wednesday night in a live Mayoral address carried on CBS 3 Mayor Nutter urged residents to support his idea.
“You have the power to change the direction of this debate, because this is your city,” Nutter said.
Mayor Nutter wants to tax soda and sweet drinks two cents per once generating about $60 to 100 million.
The money would be used to keep school busing, ensure smaller class sizes and protect early childhood services.
Watch the video…
But convincing city council is an uphill battle.
“He’s creating a lot of false choices and trying to demagogue on the issue of children, false claims” said Councilman Bill Green.
The Philadelphia school district is staring at a $629 million hole, and superintendent Arlene Ackerman is asking the city for $100 million to help.
But Ackerman, some council members contend, is part of the problem.
“I’m not confident that they are spending the money they’ve gotten through the stimulus years, and what we’ve given them, in an appropriate manner,” Councilman Jim Kenney said.
The mayor continues to try and hammer home the benefits of taxing soda, instead of raising property taxes to help city school children.
WATCH: Mayor Nutter’s Mayoral Address…
“Big soda has poured a ton of money into this effort, trying to scare and intimidate elected officials, members of the public,” Nutter said.
The hearing Thursday morning will start at 9 a.m.
Council members argue the city can help the district without raising taxes by namely dipping into the city’s reserve fund, Mayor Nutter contends that is a bad idea.
Reported by Todd Quinones, CBS 3