Avvo - Rate your Lawyer. Get Free Legal Advice.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Beverage Lobby Dumps Millions into Philly's Soda Tax Fight, Likely Dooming Vision Zero

Protesters in Philadelphia stand outside of City Hall with hopes to stop Mayor Kenney’s proposed sugary drink tax.  Projects to be funded by the proposed tax, such as universal pre-k, may remain pipe dreams.  

For Philly bicyclists, the proposed tax is needed to fund Mayor Kenney’s Vision Zero promises.   Vision Zero will enable the city to improve upon bicycle infrastructure, with the goal of eliminating bicycle accidents.

Kenney’s proposed sugary drink tax, however, has incited ire from the beverage lobby.  After Kenney announced the tax, the American Beverage Association, which is funded by companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi, spoke out in opposition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the American Beverage Association has already spent roughly $3 million dollars fighting against Kenney’s proposed tax.

Protests are expected to continue outside City Hall through Wednesday afternoon, when the bill may be decided.  Similar lobbying efforts effectively prevented a sugary beverage tax proposed by the Nutter administration.  If history repeats itself, funding for projects like Vision Zero will never come to fruition.  

And that’s a problem.  The City needs to invest in new  bicycle infrastructure and safety.  In 2014 alone, Penndot reported 551 bicyclecrashes in Philadelphia.

Mayor Kenney has budgeted $250,000 towards bicycle safety projects, which is dependent on the sugary drink tax passing.  Meanwhile, corporations are dumping millions into stopping the proposed tax.

A compromise could be reached tomorrow.  Many City Council members are unhappy with the tax amount.  Darrell Clarke, President of City Council, opposes a 3 cents tax, but would possibly support a smaller tax.   Some members of City Council are open to a tax that would charge a cent and a half.  Such a compromise would slash potential revenue in half, more than likely killing many of Kenney’s smaller pet projects, including Vision Zero.

 By:       Sean Pryzbylkowski

No comments:

Post a Comment