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.