By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — More than a dozen groups have filed briefs in Commonwealth Court in support of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.

The court is considering an appeal from the soda industry, asking it to overturn a Common Pleas ruling that the tax is legal.

Business, child advocacy, legal, and health organizations are among the groups filing amicus briefs in the Beverage Tax case, citing benefits the groups claim the tax would have.

Donna Cooper of child advocacy group PCCY argues, for instance, thousands of children would lose if funding for their pre-K seats is lost.

“There are public policy arguments the court needs to consider, were it to have a gray area and wonder which way to go,” she said.

Michael Banks, president of the African-American Chamber of Commerce, says the Rebuild program that part of the tax is earmarked for, will improve neighborhoods and create opportunities for minority businesses.

“When there’s an opportunity to move the needle economically, that’s really attractive to us, as people that represent business owners,” Banks said.

A group of state lawmakers filed amicus briefs for the soda industry, last month, arguing, in part, the tax unfairly impacts low-income people.

A brief from anti-poverty group OIC counters that argument should be taken with a grain of salt.

“When you look at the advertising that takes place in our poor and minority communities, that has more of a negative impact than this investment in our
children,” argued Kevin Johnson, CEO of OIC.

The court will hear arguments next month.

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