Now that the top has been popped on a potential Philadelphia soda tax, the battle lines are being drawn.
One former opponent of the tax seems to have changed his mind.
When former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was pushing for a soda tax, his predecessor, Mayor John Street, paraded around City Council chambers with a 2-liter bottle of soda complaining about the tax.
This time around, he’s in favor of Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposal for a 3-cents-per-ounce on sugary drinks.
What’s more, he predicted that it will be approved by City Council.
“I think it’s a variety of things,” said Street Thursday. “First, it’s tone. Two, it’s connected to things that people in the city, particularly Council members, are very interested in. And three, Council members know it’s the beginning of an administration, and good things have to be paid for.
“I think they will be much more receptive than later in the term when they get very political.”
If creating this tax requires enabling legislation in Harrisburg, Street said he believes the chances for that are also good.
As part of his $4.17 billion budget, Kenney has proposed the tax to fund an array on initiatives including citywide pre-K, rehabbed recreation centers and better-equipped police and fire departments.
He estimated the tax on sugary beverages would generate about $400 million over five years.