By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This is a big day for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and for the soda industry.
One of them likely will emerge victorious from a meeting where city council will consider how to fund universal pre-K and improvements to city facilities.
There is broad support for Mayor Kenney’s ambitious program to address many the city’s most intractable problems with early education, community schools and high functioning parks and rec centers. The question has always been how to fund it.
Council president Darrell Clarke has flatly said no to the mayor’s original three-cents-an-ounce soda tax proposal, but council has yet to find consensus around any of the alternative tax proposals.
There seems to be more support for a soda tax at a lower rate– perhaps a cent and a half– but it’s unlikely to be settled until the very last minute, and pressure from soda tax opponents and supporters will stay on until the last minute as well.
Employees in the soft drink industry and owners of independent grocery stores will rally at City Hall at 10 a.m. today.
The 3 cents-per-ounce soda tax would bring in an estimated $95 million annually.
The soda industry has successfully fought off a tax on its products twice in Philadelphia and it’s thought they would challenge any such levy in court.