PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia City Council committee has voted to approve an amended version of a soda tax proposal that would set a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary and diet drinks.
Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney’s initial proposal was for a 3-cent tax on sugary beverages only, but he lacked the votes to secure it. He wants the tax to pay for universal prekindergarten, community schools and park improvements.
A council vote is scheduled for Thursday. A final vote is expected next week.
Opponents at a public hearing before Wednesday’s vote shouted “No new tax!” Supporters countered with “Kids can’t wait.”
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The soda industry has spent millions of dollars on a campaign to stop Philadelphia from becoming the first major U.S. city with a sugary-drinks tax.
Berkeley, California, is the only U.S. city to approve such a tax.