During a stop at South Philadelphia’s Children’s Playhouse, Mayor Jim Kenney said he can’t understand the continued opposition to the new tax on sweetened beverages that promises so much good for preschoolers in the city.
“First of all, your life doesn’t depend on soda. It’s not an elixir of life that you need to drink every day or you will die,” he said. “So, if you don’t want to buy it, don’t buy it. if you want to buy it, buy it.”
The 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax, which is helping finance expanded preschool opportunity in the city, has been bashed recently by distributors, some business owners and consumers.
“I think, in the end, the overall majority of people know that Harrisburg and Washington are not providing funds for education, so we need to provide funds for education or these children will languish in poverty,” Kenney said.
The mayor says the city will prevail in any court challenge of the levy, so people need to understand the tax is here to stay like other city “sin taxes” that have recently gone up.
“Cigarette tax was raised, everybody was going to buy the cigarettes in the suburbs … didn’t happen,” he said. “Liquor tax was raised, and everybody was going to go out and eat in the suburbs … didn’t happen. These kids are more important than any of these arguments because they can’t wait.”