Those for and against a proposed tax on sugary drinks were out in force Tuesday night to offer public testimony on Philadelphia’s budget.
Dozens of opponents and just as many supporters of the soda tax were on hand to give Philadelphia City Council their two cents within a two-minute limit.
Victor Marciano, who represents a company that operates convenience stores in gas stations, said the city’s cigarette tax hurt store owners — and the soda tax will hurt them twice.
“Your job as City Council members is to promote growth through ideas and innovations, not penalize citizens for freedom of choice,” he said.
As City Council continues its budget hearings, the vote on the tax that would help fund citywide pre-K is still weeks away.
Leslie Russell Winder of Mount Airy, who supports the 3-cents-per-ounce levy on sugary drinks, said it’s time to invest in schools.
“Let’s face it, we don’t have a lot of options, there’s no real other place to find the money,” she said.
Mayor Jim Kenney expects the tax to raise more than $400 million over the next five years for projects that also include revamping parks, recreation centers and libraries.