(Philadelphia, June 20) – Thanking supporters and advocates who rallied on behalf of the Sweetened Beverage Tax proposal, Mayor Jim Kenney today signed into law the FY17 Operating and Capital Budgets and related tax bills, including the SBT legislation.
Mayor Kenney was joined in the Mayor’s Reception room by more than a hundred of those who had fought for the proposal in order to secure additional $300 million in additional funding for expanded Pre-K, Community Schools, and improvements to parks, recreation centers and libraries. He was also joined by members of City Council, who approved the budget and the initiatives by an overwhelming majority last Thursday.
“Opponents of my proposals had the resources to hire professional lobbyists to battle the effort, as they have done in numerous other cities. But we had something far stronger – the dreams, hard work and compassion of hundreds of supporters who share my goal for a better Philadelphia,” said the Mayor. “When a young child now succeeds because she got a jump start in Pre-K, or finds an activity she loves at her rec center, these supporters here today – and those who could not attend — can take pride in that huge accomplishment.”
The Sweetened Beverage Tax legislation calls for a levy of 1.5 cents per ounce on distributors of sweetened beverages (ex. regular and diet sodas, juices with less than 50% fruit or vegetable juice). The tax will take effect January 1, 2017.
The revenues from the tax – projected at nearly $410 million over the next five years – will go largely toward 6,500 additional Pre-K seats and 25 Community Schools. The funding will also be used for debt service on $300 million in new borrowing that will allow the City to renovate and improve existing parks, libraries and rec centers.