Philly council to hike taxes on property, not soda

    Soda drinkers: rejoice. Homeowners: not so much.

    Lawmakers in Philadelphia have approved a plan to raise taxes on real estate, not soda, in order to help the city’s cash-strapped school district, WHYY’s Tom MacDonald reports.

    Late last night, City Council passed a preliminary proposal to increase property taxes about 3.5 percent for one year to generate $37 million for education.

    Combined with money from the city’s surplus fund and a hike in parking meter fees, the total aid package comes to $53 million. A final vote is expected next week.

    The school district had asked for about $100 million. It’s facing a record $629 million deficit that could mean up to 1,500 teacher layoffs.

    Mayor Michael Nutter had proposed a 2-cents-per-ounce soda tax, but critics said it would cost hundreds of jobs in the beverage industry.

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