By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s city controller is sounding the alarm about a shortfall in revenue from the controversial sweetened beverage tax — but Mayor Kenney remains confident it will bring in what’s expected.

The finance director projected $2.3 million in receipts from the first month of the tax — but controller Alan Butkovitz says early returns are not close to that. He acknowledges there are likely to be late payments made through the week and into next week, but he doesn’t expect it to amount to what the city had hoped.

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“Based on the numbers that are in so far, it’s about $600,000, so that is alarming,” Butkovitz said. “People gotta start thinking about plan B because receipts that are this dangerously low-level means we may be facing a crisis in a few months.”

A city spokesman says that number is incorrect and the city will soon release the actual figures, but Mayor Kenney says some lag time on receipts was expected.

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“Nothing is 100 percent complete in the first month,” the mayor said. “This is all smoke and mirror misleading and it’s hurting our kids and it’s scaring people. So if they can lay their head on the pillow at night and know they’re trying to stop our kids from being educated, I guess they’ll have to live with themselves.”

He rejects claims that low receipts are a reflection of dropping sales. He says any sales losses will rebound.

“Like they did on cigarettes, like they did on liquor by the drink and then people come back to normal and we start putting these programs into effect that help our kids,” Kenney said.

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The one-and-a-half cent an ounce tax is supposed to generate $91-million a year for universal pre-K and city facility renovations.