PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Jim Kenney and City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante released the following statements on the lawsuit filed by the soda industry against the City’s Sweetened Beverage Tax (SBT) today. SBT was passed by City Council in June 2016 as a tax on distributors in order to provide funding for pre-K, community schools and improvements to parks, rec centers and libraries.

“We are ready and prepared to vigorously defend this legislation and to protect the historic investment planned for Philadelphia’s neighborhoods and education system,” said City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante. “We have always been confident that the Sweetened Beverage Tax was a proper exercise of City Council’s authority and that it will be upheld in Court. We are currently in the process of reviewing the Complaint that was filed against the City of Philadelphia by the American Beverage Association and co-plaintiffs this morning in the Court of Common Pleas. We have retained former City Solicitors Ken Trujillo from Chamberlain Hrdlicka and Mark Aronchick from Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin and Schiller to join the City’s litigation team. “

Mayor Jim Kenney added, “Pre-K, community schools and improved parks, rec centers and libraries will give Philadelphia’s children the fair shot they deserve. While it is repugnant that the multi-billion-dollar soda industry would try to take away these educational and community programs from the hundreds of thousands of Philadelphians who need them, we were not surprised by their lawsuit given the ten million dollars they have already spent opposing the tax. I have no doubt we’ll be successful in defeating lawsuit.”