By Pat Loeb


CITY HALL — How badly did the beverage industry want to win last week’s fight in City Council over a soda tax? Pretty badly!

Spending on ads attacking the soda tax have topped four-Million dollars, but that was nothing compared to the offer Pepsi bottler and philanthropist Harold Honickman made in the hours before a key vote on the tax.

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 23:  (L-R)Harold Honickman, Jon Bon Jovi, Lynne Honickman and Leigh Middleton attend the "Coming HOME" 20th anniversary gala for Project H.O.M.E. at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on September 23, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA – SEPTEMBER 23: (L-R)Harold Honickman, Jon Bon Jovi, Lynne Honickman and Leigh Middleton attend the “Coming HOME” 20th anniversary gala for Project H.O.M.E. at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on September 23, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images)

He said the Beverage Association would pay for the entire first year of universal pre-kindergarten, if council would delay the vote so the city could look for other ways to fund the initiative.

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He pitched it to his friend freshman councilman Allan Domb, to whom he made the most campaign donations to. Domb’s special project is improving tax collections and Honickman suggested doing so would raise enough money to fund the programs without taxing soda. Domb didn’t go for it and the tax advanced. The final vote is this week.