Kenney’s soda tax pitch: 3 cents per ounce

Philly soda tax would incentivize less consumption, says mayor
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That can of Coke might cost a bit more in the coming days.

Mayor Jim Kenney spoke out to clarify rumors about a soda tax proposal, confirming that he will seek a 3 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, the Inquirer reported.

Kenney will pitch the tax in his budget speech Thursday. He believes 3 cents per ounce would generate $400 million in tax revenues for the city over the next five years.

If limited to city residents, that would require 1.5 millionPhiladelphiansguzzling a nauseating13.3billion ounces of sugary beverages during that time period — or approximately one billion cans of Coke, at 740 cans per person. But tourists and visitors are sure to pop back a Dr. Pepper or two as well.

RELATED:Philly soda tax proposal back on the table

Kenney told the Inquirer the projected tax revenues from a soda tax would get split up with $256 million for universal pre-K, $56 million toward Kenney’s $300 million plan for parks, rec centers and libraries; $26 million for city pensions, $23 million for a green jobs plan proposed by Council president Darrell Clarke, and$39 million into creating “community schools,” another project strongly favored by Clarke.

Customers would not pay the soda tax, but distributors would and could potentially increase in-store prices to make up for lost profits.

The American Beverage Association (ABA)and Teamsters previously opposed efforts to bring a soda tax to Philly pitched by Mayor Nutter. As a councilman, Kenney also opposed the soda tax.

“The soda tax is an old idea that has been rejected in the past for good reason,” the American Beverage Association said in a statement responding to Kenney’s proposal. “Philadelphians have been burdened year after year with tax increases and a new tax on soda would just be another tax on hard-working Philadelphia residents and neighborhood businesses.Philadelphia’s beverage companies have deep roots in the community and provide thousands of good-paying jobs in the city. We are committed to continuing to work with city leaders to support a strong community that is a great place to live and work for everyone.”