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Clinton's Regressive Soda Tax Passes In Philadelphia

- June 17, 2016

Yesterday, Philadelphia Became The "First Major City" To Pass A Soda Tax, Adding 1.5 Cents To The Price Of Every Ounce Of Soda

Yesterday, Philadelphia Became The "First Major City" To Pass A Soda Tax, With The City Council Approving A New 1.5 Cent-Per-Ounce Tax On Sodas And "Other Sugary Drinks," Which Even Includes Teas And Sports Drinks." "Philadelphia on Thursday became the first major U.S. city to approve a tax on soft drinks. By a vote of 13-4, the Philadelphia City Council approved a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax that will affect sodas and other sugary drinks, including teas, sports drinks and energy drinks. Drinks exempt from the tax are those that are more than 50% fruit juice, vegetable juice or milk, said Lauren Hitt, the communications director for the mayor's office." (Michael Burke, "Philadelphia Becomes First Major City To Pass Soda Tax," USA Today, 6/16/16)

  • "That Would Add 18 Cents To The Cost Of A Can Of Soda, $1.08 For A Six-Pack Or $1.02 For A Two-Liter Bottle." (Jeanne Sahadi and Aaron Smith, "Philadelphia Passes A Soda Tax," CNN Money, 6/16/16)

The New Soda Tax Was Pushed By Philadelphia Democrat Mayor Jim Kenney, Who Originally Proposed A 3 Cent-Per-Ounce Tax. "As part of his budget, introduced this month, Mr. Kenney has proposed taxing sugar-sweetened beverages at 3 cents an ounce, the highest soda tax proposed anywhere in the country." (Margot Sanger-Katz, "Making A Soda Tax More Politically Palatable," The New York Times, 4/3/16)

CLINTON HAS ENDORSED PHILLY'S SODA TAX, WHICH VIOLATES HER PLEDGE TO NOT SUPPORT TAXES ON THE POOR AND MIDDLE CLASS

At An April Campaign Event, Clinton Endorsed Mayor Jim Kenney's Proposed 3-Cents An Ounce Soda Tax. CLINTON: "We obviously have to do a whole lot more to avoid what they call the 'school to prison pipeline' and replace it with a 'cradle to college pipeline' and that really starts early, and it starts early with working with families, working with kids, building up community resources. I'm very supportive of the mayor's proposal to tax soda to get universal preschool for kids. I mean I don't, you know, we need universal preschool, and if that's a way to do it, that's how we should do it." (Hillary Clinton, Roundtable In Philadelphia Pennsylvania, 4/20/16)

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But Clinton Had Promised Not To Support Raising Taxes On Those With Incomes Under $250,000

Clinton Pledged "Not To Raise Taxes On Families Making Under $250,000 A Year." MUIR: "This is fun, this is democracy at work. And Secretary Clinton, let me ask you about your tax plan because from the crushing cost of college education the next question most families have is will my taxes go up under the next President? You have said it's your goal not to raise taxes on families making under $250,000 a year, a goal, but can you say that's a promise as you stand here tonight?" CLINTON: "That is a pledge that I'm making…" (Hillary Clinton, Democratic Primary Debate, Manchester, New Hampshire, 12/19/15)

By Endorsing A Soda Tax, Clinton Was Endorsing A "Very Regressive Tax That Falls More On The Poor." "A tax on sugary soft drinks, like the one proposed in Philadelphia and endorsed by Mrs. Clinton this week, divides the left. It can be seen as achieving an admirable public health goal of less sugar consumption or as a very regressive tax that falls more on the poor than the rich, since the poor tend to drink more soda." (Margot Sanger-Katz, "A New Policy Disagreement Between Clinton And Sanders: Soda Taxes," The New York Times , 4/22/16)

The Soda Tax Has "Divided Many In The City. Critics Are Concerned The Tax Will Disproportionately Affect The Poor." "The tax, which will start being collected Jan. 1, has divided many in the city. Critics are concerned the tax will disproportionately affect the poor." (Michael Burke, "Philadelphia Becomes First Major City To Pass Soda Tax," USA Today, 6/16/16)

CLINTON'S LIBERAL RIVAL CALLED CLINTON'S ENDORSEMENT OF THE SODA TAX A VIOLATION OF HER PLEDGE TO NOT RAISE TAXES ON MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS

At An Event In Philadelphia, Sanders Highlighted That Clinton's Support For The Soda Tax Violates Her Pledge Not To Raise Tax On Middle-Class Americans, Saying A Soda Tax Would Be Placed "On The Backs Of The Poorest People In This City." "Speaking of Mayor Jim Kenney's proposal to tax soda and juice drinks to pay for universal pre-school, Sanders said he shares the mayor's goal of providing child care. The senator differed with the mayor and Clinton over how to pay for the proposal. 'I do have a serious disagreement with how you fund this. You don't have to fund child care on the backs of the poorest people in this city. That is a regressive way to raise funds.' Breaking her own pledge to oppose any new taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year, Clinton earlier this week supported the tax that would hurt the poorest people in Philadelphia." (Press Release, "Sanders Addresses Philadelphia Panel On A Moral Economy," Bernie Sanders 2016, 4/22/16)

Sanders Called The Tax "Regressive" And Said The Tax Could End Up Costing Low-Income Families "A Lot Of Money." QUESTION: "Thank you senator. Thank you. So, we want to go local here to Philadelphia here for a moment. Mayor Kenney recently introduced a plan to provide universal pre-school to all four-year-olds in Philadelphia. We think that's a great idea. It's a great idea is it not? We want our kids to start school earlier, get their education (inaudible). But, to pay for this, he wants to put a tax on soda, that would disproportionately low-income and middle-class Philadelphians. What are your thoughts on this? And does this sound like a moral issue to you?" SANDERS: "Well, here's' what it sounds like. I absolutely agree with the mayor that we need a revolution, as I mentioned earlier, in child care and pre-K. Too many kids are in inadequate child care centers, where the instructors don't have the training or the background to provide the quality care those kids need. No argument, I would go further than the mayor. I think this is a right, not just for four-year-olds, but for all of our children. But I do have a serious disagreement with how you fund this. When you have massive income and wealth inequality, when 58 percent of all new income generated today is going to the top 1 percent, you don't have to fund child care on the backs of the poorest people in this city. That is a regressive way to raise funds. Now I also note, and I'm not going to argue with anybody, we have an obesity problem in this country, I don't want kids getting hooked up on sugar, I agree with that as well. So let's deal with that issue, let's get kids off of sugar, let's make sure that we have the best child care system in the world in America. And I will fight for that as President, but you don't do it through regressive taxation. Now you can talk about getting a 12 ounce bottle of soda, that's like 30 or 40 cent tax on that bottle of soda. At five bottles, bottle a day, that's two bucks a week for a low-income family, that's a lot of money. That's a lot of money. So again, the goal is, the right goal, but the method and the approach and the raising funds is the wrong way to do it in my view." (Sen. Bernie Sanders, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Philadelphia, PA, 4/22/16)

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