Mayor Jim Kenney (D-Philadelphia) wants to add universal pre-Kindergarten to the city’s public schools. However, the city is overtaxed and the schools are in distress.
The Mayor’s plan is to impose a beverage tax–3 cents per ounce–on the residents of his city. At a press conference announcing the massive tax, Mayor Kenney said, “… this is not personal toward Big Soda, but there’s a lot of money being made off the backs of poor people.”
Who will be pay the tax? Ed Rendell, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, said that Kenney’s tax “unfairly hits poor people.” It’s Kenney who is seeking to raise money “off the backs of poor people.”
Experts in early-childhood care and education across the political spectrum agree that the first and best teachers for our children are parents and family members. However, Mayor Kenney has offered a tax scheme that will drain from families the earnings that would be better spent on quality child care, and cheat them out of the quality time devoted to their children.
Universal pre-K can be a worthy goal. However, it must be done right, not on the backs of Philly’s poorest families.
Click here to listen to our discussion of the mayor’s tax. We’re joined on The LangerCast by Michi Iljazi from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.
Philly Soda Tax Hurts the Poor Institute for Liberty 3/15/2016
By Jerry Rogers
Mayor Jim Kenney (D-Philadelphia) has proposed a massive tax hike on the residents of his city. The soda tax, set at 3 cents an ounce, will be an added cost on top of the city’s existing 8 percent sales tax. Today, a 67-ounce bottle of Coke is $1.99. Kenney’s soda tax would add $2.01 to the price, more than doubling the cost.
Kenney says the tax will raise $400 million over five years to pay for a universal pre-K program. But, this is a cruel deception.
The mayor’s proposal breaks all the rules on “Tax it or not” Situations:
- When you tax something more you get less of it.
- If X and Y are two locations, and if taxes are higher in X and lower in Y, consumers will have a greater incentive to shop in Y.
- Businesses don’t pay taxes. They pass the cost of all taxation onto their customers in the prices of the goods and services they sell
Imagine a scenario: Compare two states or two cities — one with a giant tax on beverages and one without. Then do your own calculation and analysis. The results should be apparent. States and cities with lower tax burdens always have higher and faster growing economies and personal incomes than in states or cities with rising tax burdens. For evidence, look at 1990s New York City. Under Rudy Giuliani New Yorkers’ tax burden was reduced by nearly 20% – its lowest level in generations. Giuliani cut taxes 23 times, and the whole city benefited, from Wall Street to Main Street and from lower Manhattan to the Bronx.
Kenney’s tax on beverages is fundamentally unfair. The Kenney tax is regressive, betraying—for Democrats particularly—the sacrosanct principle of tax fairness. Mayor Kenney’s tax will disproportionately harm low-income individuals, as they spend a larger portion of their income on consumer goods like soda.
A soda tax will hurt Philly’s poorest families, and it won’t fund universal pre-K. Those who can will buy their beverages outside of the city’s limits. And, such arbitrary taxation will have businesses and jobs fleeing Philadelphia.
Kenney’s tax proposal is not a tax on Big Soda. It’s a tax on Philadelphia’s poorest residents.
By Jerry Rogers
In politics in most big cities – Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco – politicians turn on the very people who elect them.
Consider Mayor Jim Kenney’s outrageous, regressive proposal in Philly to tax soda at 3-cents-per-ounce! Who will end up paying the tax? Poor residents who can’t afford to travel outside the city. What’s great news for Jersey – “Tonight I’m gonna take that ride across the river to the Jersey side” – is tragic for Philly.
Ironically, Kenney opposed a similar tax when Mayor Nutter pushed for it in 2010 and 2011. Nutter’s bids failed. Now Kenney hopes his massive soda tax will raise $400 million in five years to pay for universal pre-K. What will happen to the pre-K program when the money doesn’t come in?
A soda tax will hurt Philly’s families and businesses, and it won’t fund universal pre-K. Those who have means will buy their soda elsewhere.
This unfair, unsustainable tax should be defeated. Shame on Kenney – and all in the political class – for turning their backs on the people.