By Steve Tawa


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One person who has been watching the debate over recent years on taxing sugary drinks, former Mayor John Street, thinks there’s a chance Philadelphia City Council will ultimately pass Mayor Kenney’s big ticket item.

Street thinks his former colleague, Jim Kenney, set the right tone in finding a mechanism to fund universal Pre-K programs:

“Good things are going to have to be paid for.”

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Back in 2010 for then Mayor Nutter’s budget address, Street carried a two liter bottle of Coke as a prop into Council Chambers, and panned Nutter’s proposal to add a soda tax, adding it would hurt the city’s poor the most:

Now, he says, Mayor Kenney has refocused a proposed three-cents-per-ounce soda tax:

“They’re talking about taxing distributors, and not retail outlets.”

(Reporter) But…they’ll pass it on to the consumer?

“Well, I think they will pass it along,” Street responded. “Look, somebody’s got to pay for this. Uutimately, the consumer pays all taxes.”

Street also thinks if state enabling legislation is needed for a soda tax, Governor Wolf would be receptive:

“You do have a governor who is sympathetic of the School District of Philadelphia; there are people who would be very supportive of Pre-K, even in Harrisburg.”

Street also thinks Kenney will “have to work with the business community, in some way, shape or form.”

A coalition representing the beverage industry, Teamsters union members who work at bottling plants, restaurants and taverns, and neighborhood groceries and bodegas, are against the proposal.