Nutter proposes trash, soda tax

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

t is budget time in Philadelphia and Philadelphians are poised to hear Mayor Nutter propose a trash tax and a levy on sweet drinks, meaning soda.

Mayor Nutter emerged from closed door budget briefings with City Council today after briefing them on his plan to close a $150-million budget gap.

"We do not wish to raise the rates of any of our major taxes, this is a tough economic environment, and, at the same time, we do not want to further reduce critical core services," Mayor Nutter said.

The mayor's plan includes two major elements: taxing sales on all sugary drinks except baby formula by 2-cents an ounce and a $300 annual fee per household for trash pickup. City Council would have to approve both measures.

As for the soda tax plan, it excludes diet soft drinks, but includes all the sugar sweetened drinks including chocolate milk. City Hall says it would collect the added revenue from the retailers who'd be responsible for tracking the number of sugary ounces they sell a year.

This means the average consumer would be pay $1.35 add on tax for a 2-liter bottle of soda; as for a can of cola, the price for the average consumer would be nearly a quarter more than now.

The mayor will sell the soda tax as part of an over-all anti-obesity strategy. The council claims it'll look for ways to avoid these increases.

"I hear constantly from our constituents the fact that we have so many people who don't pay taxes that if we got all the deadbeats to pay, maybe we wouldn't be talking about other revenue enhancements," Maria Quiñones-Sánchez of City Council said.

The mayor's top aides say they've cut job possessions by 800 so far this year and made drastic cuts in overtime costs, but still the budget crisis continues.

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