By Alex Lloyd Gross
Nobody likes to pay additional taxes and when a politician votes to tax the citizenry, they are taking their political life and playing Russian Roulette with it. Just look at Cook County , Illinois. This is right in Chicago and there was a rising star named Toni Preckwinkle. She was destined to be the next Mayor of Chicago, until, as Cook County Board President advanced a soda tax of 1 percent. The people in Chicago were outraged and put her right out of the running April 2 in a runoff election, Lori Lightfoot, a lesser known candidate trounced her. The soda tax was to blame, In addition to that, legislation was passed forbidding another soda tax from being introduced, as the tax that was already enacted died a quick death.
Philadelphia voters have the same opportunity, as most of city council are running scared.Primary elections are in May. Legislation was just introduced this month to take the first step to repeal the soda tax. According to several candidates for mayor, it does not go far enough. Alan Butkovitz, said. He called the tax horrible and not necessary. Delaware Valley News.com wrote about this here. in fact, when he was city controller he blasted the tax and put up a report on the internet which magically dissapeared. Butkovitz said that the tax was costing people jobs. That was before the Shopright closed in West Philadelphia. In other Philadelphia food stores, wages have frozen and a lot more jobs have been lost. Those good paying job have been replaced with jobs paying around $8.75 an hour.
Butkovitz said that restaurants were hurting. Many have no choice but to allow customers to bring in their own soda , which is purchased outside the city. It’s how they survive. Senator Hardy Williams is also running for Mayor. He is not pleased at the soda tax, either.
The coalition of Ax The Bev Tax issued a statement. It reads “Philadelphians understand how the beverage tax is hurting the pocketbooks of working families and costing our local small businesses their sales and jobs. City Council has the chance to do the right thing and repeal the tax now. With more than $360 million budget surplus today, the City shouldn’t balance its budget on the backs of Philadelphia’s working families.”
The fact that the soda tax was rammed through city council at the behest of City Councilman Bobby Henon, was is now indicted and shoved the tax down the throats of voters does not soften the blow of this tax at all. It makes voters even more furious. Mayor Kenney has doubled down on his tax and will be only too happy to talk about how the tax helps fund Pre- K. His opponents say that their are alternatives to fund this without the tax. This primary, many voters in every section of the city will make their voices be heard, in taking the first step to removing from office anyone that voted for this tax. Others will work to insure the politicians stay in office. They want the tax and have no problem with it. It appears they are in the minority.
One politician that loves the soda tax in Philadelphia is Joe DiGiralamo, Mayor of nearby Bensalem. “This is great for business in Bensalem, but I would never think to put a tax like that here, I’m not that stupid,” he said several years ago.